January 17, 2012

something slightly wild

I'm terrible about anthropomorphising, everything from machines to animals. My car has a name (Bleeker), my mp3 player has a name (Captain Apollo), my elliptical has a name (Zoe). With animals, of course, it's even worse, because not only do I name the ones in my care, I also absolutely believe we share with them what we - selfish, ego-maniacal creatures that we are - tend to think of as "human" characteristics, specifically emotions, needs, desires... 

You know as well as I do that dogs love, cats get bored, elephants mourn. (You do know that, don't you?) But even without looking into it that deeply, it's easy, and fun, to think of them as being like us, isn't it?  I know I did my fair share of dressing kittens in doll clothes and parading them up and down Deerbrook Rd when I was little. 

These are postcards by an artist named Eugen Hartung (or Hurtong), who lived from 1897-1973. These cards, known as the Humorous Dressed Cats postcards or Mainzer Dressed Cats postcards, were originally published from the 1940's through the 1960's by Alfred Mainzer Inc. in New York City, known worldwide for their postcards and greeting cards.  The Mainzer company was founded by brothers Renate and Alfred Mainzer, who started the business in their New York City home in 1938. The early postcards had a rough finish, brilliant colors, and scalloped ("deckled") edges.  The cards were printed in Switzerland, Belgium, Turkey, Thailand, and Spain. An additional series of Mainzer dressed cats were published as the "Kunzli edition" - these appear to be set in older European environments, and are typically not as brightly colored as the American editions.  (source

I think they're absolutely charming, despite the fact - or maybe because of it - that for the most part the kittens seem to be completely wild.  If you've ever known a litter of kittens, or even one really worth its salt,  you know that in that respect, at least, they've been portrayed  true to their nature. 

    When you invite a kitten into your home,
you bring indoors something slightly wild,
often unpredictable,
and always entertaining.
~ Barbara L. Diamond

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