Schizophrenic Cat Artist

I am fascinated by schizophrenia. My medical school application essay featured a schizophrenic man I used to enjoy speaking with while volunteering with a homeless healthcare group in Pittsburgh called Operation Safety Net. I got a lot of exposure to a variety of psychoses this way, and then again as an ER doc. There was a guy downtown who used to draw these incredible current event flowchart diagrams linking things like mideast oil supply with the outcome of the local high school basketball games, but with a tangled web of a score or more intermediates.

I wonder what sorts of things were going through Louis Wain’s mind in his later years? Look at the fascinating detail of the cats in later sketches, less resembling cats than kaleidascopes.

Louis Wain was born in London’s Clerkenwell district in 1860 and eventually became an artist, selling his sketches of dog shows to the Illustrated Sporting News. He married his youngest sister’s governess, Emily Richardson, which was considered quite scandalous at the time. His wife contracted breast cancer and died three years later. To entertain her on her sickbed, Wain started drawing their cat, Peter. Emily encouraged him to send these drawings to newspapers and magazines, and soon the Louis Wain cat was a household name, not only in Britain but also in America, where his comics and drawings of cats appeared in several newspapers.

I am fascinated by schizophrenia. My medical school application essay featured a schizophrenic man I used to enjoy speaking with while volunteering with a homeless healthcare group in Pittsburgh called Operation Safety Net. I got a lot of exposure to a variety of psychoses this way, and then again as an ER doc. There was a guy downtown who used to draw these incredible current event flowchart diagrams linking things like mideast oil supply with the outcome of the local high school basketball games, but with a tangled web of a score or more intermediates.

I wonder what sorts of things were going through Louis Wain’s mind in his later years? Look at the fascinating detail of the cats in later sketches, less resembling cats than kaleidascopes.

Link via Boing Boing, via Neatorama

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4 Responses to “Schizophrenic Cat Artist”

  1. I’ve been searching for prints of these cats to frame and put in my house. I think they are so unique! Can’t find them anywhere… Any ideas?

  2. Hi, I am studing Louis Wain for a school project and i was wondering weather these pictures are the original colour because some of the pictures i know have been modified to stand out more. Can you please help?????????????

  3. I love cats. I used to have one and I love him so dearly. Where can I find same with those prints. Are they for sale?

  4. I think you can buy some high res files of the first three here: http://www.cerebromente.org.br/gallery/gall_leonardo/fig1-a.htm

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