Style Icons: Male »Louis Wain

Cat Lover

Who knew that the world’s biggest cat lady was in fact a man? Louis Wain began his career as a cat artist after a beloved pet got his wife through the pain of suffering from cancer. His anthropomorphous illustrations were quite popular in their day (being the 1880’s) and I’d die for one of his annuals. Sadly, he was struck by severe and escalating mental illness in his later years – a case that surely lends credence to the theory that toxoplasma can cause changes to human personalities – a theory expounded on in a fascinating Parasites¬† episode of Radio Lab. Wain didn’t stop painting and drawing cats while he was institutionalized and his work took on a wild psychedelic and geometric turn. I am surprised his work has not been embraced by the outsider art loving community like Henry Darger’s.

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Posted on April 25, 2010

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