Henriette Ronner-Knip (Dutch, 1821-1909)
Henriette Ronner-Knip (Dutch, 1821-1909)

A Mother Cat and her Kitten with a Bracket Clock

Henriette Ronner-Knip (Dutch, 1821-1909)
A Mother Cat and her Kitten with a Bracket Clock
signed and dated 'Henriette Ronner./1897.' (upper right)
oil on canvas
35½ x 28½ in. (90.2 x 72.4 cm.)
Florence Eno Graves, Los Angeles.
By descent to her daughter Antoinette Graves-Goetz, Greenwich, CT, 1961.
By descent to her daughter Harriet Goetz-Holly, Greenwich, CT circa 1982.

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Lot Essay

The oeuvre of Henriette Ronner can roughly be divided in three periods. The first period is characterised by rural subjects from her close surroundings. The second period dates after 1850 when Henriette moved to Brussels with her husband Feico Ronner and became a renowned dog painter. In 1860 she executed a painting entitled La mort d'un ami which was highly acclaimed. For this painting she received a Gold Medal at the Levende Meesters exhibition in The Hague. In 1862 she exhibited the same painting at the World Art Fair in London, thereby establishing an international name for herself. From 1870 until the end of her life, Ronner's primary subject matter was cats. The artist's choice to change to this commercial subject could not have come at a better time. Throughout Europe the well-to-do middle class was taking a great liking to cats.

The artist would portray her models as if they were all individual creatures, each with its own expression. A recurring theme in her work are the playful kittens in a luxurious interior, often with a watchful mother nearby. The present lot shows Ronner's exceptional talent for depicting these delightful and elegant creatures: each shiny area of fur, each whisker, is painted with great precision and eye for detail. The light shines in a lively manner on the furry coat of the mother cat and the contrast between the different fabrics and colors depicted in the present lot are a beautiful example of Ronner's skillful technique.

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