SCHIZOPHRENIC VICTORIAN PAINTER OF CATS -Louis Wain

“Louis Wain (1860-1939) was an English artist best known for his drawings, which consistently featured anthropomorphised large-eyed cats and kittens. In his later years he suffered from schizophrenia, which, according to some psychologists, can be seen in his works.H.G. Wells said of him, “He has made the cat his own. He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look and live like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves.”

“He had always been considered quite charming but odd, and often had difficulty in distinguishing between fact and fantasy. Others frequently found him incomprehensible, and his mode of speaking tangential. His behavior and personality changed, and he began to suffer from delusions, with the onset of schizophrenia. Whereas he had been a mild-mannered and trusting man, he became hostile and suspicious, particularly towards his sisters. He claimed that the flickering of the cinema screen had robbed the electricity from their brains. He began wandering the streets at night, rearranging furniture within the house, and spent long periods locked in his room writing incoherently.”

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“When his sisters could no longer cope with his erratic and occasionally violent behavior, he was finally committed in 1924 to a pauper ward of Springfield Mental Hospital. A year later, he was discovered there, and his circumstances were widely publicized, leading to appeals from such figures as H.G. Wells and the personal intervention of the Prime Minister. Wain was transferred to the Bethlem Royal Hospital, and again in 1930 to Napsbury Hospital near St Albans in Hertfordshire, north of London. This hospital was relatively pleasant, with a garden and colony of cats, and he spent his final 15 years here in peace. While he became increasingly deluded, his erratic mood swings subsided, and he continued drawing for pleasure. His work from this period is marked by bright colors, flowers, and intricate and abstract patterns, though his primary subject remained the same.”

read more at wiki

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~ by remainsofthedesi on August 5, 2007.

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