Klimt and His Cat

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Debut author Capatti and Italian artist Monaco (A Brave Little Princess) offer a unique portrait of Gustav Klimt, his studio and his work-from the point of view of his pet, whom he calls Katze. On built-up layers of soft pastel, brilliant orange and cool gray-blue, Monaco creates portraits of Klimt and adds other figures-the women who appear in his paintings, their necks alluringly bent to the side, images from his thoughts and dreams, tubes of paint and pictures of his black-and-white cat. Also in the manner of Klimt, she embellishes the spreads with fabric patterns and repeating medallions, then overlays them with fields of gold ink. The narrative lacks the power of Monaco's artwork, but supports the illustrations sturdily nonetheless. The cat, who narrates, describes the fate of work done by Klimt for the University of Vienna, criticized so harshly that the artist chose to buy it back ("Katze, what's important to me is not how many people like my art, but who appreciates it," Klimt says), and injects a note of humor as he complains about his master on vacation ("I wander the streets of Venice to look for other cats, but Gustav is interested only in art"). The depiction of an artist to whom work is more important than family, wealth or recognition, comes through with force-and with great charm. Small reproductions of Klimt's most famous works appear on the last two pages. All ages. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Another pet with pizzazz shows up in Klimt and His Cat. Through fond feline eyes, Katze introduces her artistic human and his world. Gustav Klimt's late 19th century studio in Vienna brimmed with color and laughter, according to Katze. This picture book biography by Berenice Capatti offers many intriguing insights into the artist and his process. Klimt once bought back three of his paintings when the owner proved harshly critical. He wanted to "battle the sickness, greed and unhappiness in the world through his paintings." Illustrations by Octavia Monaco are especially striking, a tribute both to the artist and the power of the imagination. They swirl across double-page spreads and shimmer with gold tones, a luminous homage to Klimt's style and palette. Special bonus: a gallery at the end with some of Klimt's paintings and a photo of him and Katze. 2004, Eerdmans, Ages 6 up.
—Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-Klimt, founder of the late-19th-century Secessionist Art Movement in Vienna, probably has greater renown in Europe than in the U.S. However, American children will enjoy this aesthetically pleasing fictional biography as told by the artist's cat, Katze. The feline takes readers into Klimt's studio to see the decorative, stylized paintings. Then, through conversations and the cat's observations, readers gain insight into the artist's personality, thoughts, and philosophy on art and life. None of this is as heavy as it might seem, given Klimt's erotic and psychological preoccupations. The cat's tale is much softer, much lighter-a child's interpretation of the paintings. There is no "dumbing down"-just appreciation from a different perspective. The mixed-media illustrations work wonderfully with the story. Done in the decorative, ornamental style of Klimt himself, they shine with gold, rich fabrics, paint, and photographs. The effect is as dazzling as his originals. They invite study and appreciation. Readers will need to look twice to distinguish between the illustrations and the reproductions of Klimt's paintings included at the book's conclusion. This richly illustrated, sophisticated work is a beautiful addition to picture-book collections.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This quirky distillation of Klimt's essence is particularly notable for its luminous, gold-leafed multimedia paintings that effectively evoke the Viennese Secessionist painter's individualistic style (Danae, 1907 and The Kiss, 1908). Bologna-based Monaco is a recent winner of Italy's Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Illustration. Unfortunately debut author Capatti's conceit-Klimt's life and art through the eyes of his cat, Katze-is sometimes a bit hard to take. Katze takes readers inside the studio and introduces them to Klimt's inner circle and sources of artistic inspiration. As Katze's narrative is more than a bit precious, and the eroticism inherent in Klimt's work is a better match for YAs, this beautifully produced work might find its most enthusiastic audience among the denizens of museum gift shops. However, Monaco's illustrations are so unique that libraries with strong artistic picture-book collections won't want to pass this by. (Picture book. 9+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802852823
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/22/2004
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 548,814
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.94 (w) x 12.52 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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