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    Sale 2801

    19th CenturyEuropean Art

    14 October 2008, Amsterdam

  • Lot 234

    Henriette Ronner (Dutch, 1821-1909)

    Furry friends

    Price Realised  


    Henriette Ronner (Dutch, 1821-1909)
    Furry friends
    signed and dated 'Henriette Ronner./93.' (lower left)
    oil on panel
    35 x 40.5 cm.

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    Ronner's fashionable portrayal of cats in a contemporary interior appealed to such a great extent that an English critic wrote: 'The artists who have succeeded in rendering the cat may be counted on the fingers of one hand - the Japanese Hokusai, the Swiss Mind, the English Burbank, the French Lambert, and the Dutch Mme. Ronner - and the greatest of these, the one who has succeeded absolutely and all round, is the last, the lady'. (see: Harry Kraaij, Henriette Ronner-Knip 1821-1909: Een virtuoos dierschilderes, Schiedam 1998, p. 9).

    The current painting shows exactly what was then, and still is, appealing about Henriette's oeuvre: the felines are rendered exactly like real cats: the positions are realistic and not contrived and she succeeds in creating wonderfully soft entangled fur with depth, rather than a flat neatly combed pelt.

    It is crucial however, not to characterise Ronner's art as merely cute and amiable. Her drawings and paintings are equally fine in a technical sense. It is clear that she observed the animals very closely and over a large period of time: their complicated anatomy is captured with an extraordinarily high standard. Apart from observation she was able to achieve this by her way of handling brush and paint. The loose and almost nonchalant brushstrokes achieve an image that is perhaps more accurate than when the paint is applied in a more controlled manner because it complements the stubborn and playful nature of cats. In this way her execution demonstrates the lively character of the animals.

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    Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 21 October 1999, lot 58.
    Richard Green Galleries, London, as: A study of cats, where acquired by the present owner.