Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, The Cat in Winter, 1909, lithograph on cream wove paper, Sarah C. Garver Fund

The Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts has created a one-of-a-kind, multi-faceted cat-themed project that you won’t want to miss! Meowrunning May 21 through September 4, 2016, will include an exhibition exploring the feline as an iconic element of art, a self-guided “cat walk” through the Museum, an interactive installation featuring live cats, a community art show, a naughty kitty take-over of Helmutt’s House, a dog show curated by Helmutt, and special art classes. From serious art to mischievous fun, Meow promises to tickle the whiskers of museum and cat-lovers alike!


Clockwise from left: Egyptian, Cat, 26th Dynasty (672-525 BCE), Museum Purchase, 1947.7; Cornelis de Visscher, The Cat, 1657, engraving on cream wove paper , Mrs. Kingsmill Marrs Collection , 1926.1078; Robert A. Nelson, Cat and Mice, 1975, color lithograph on cream wove paper , Gift of The Boston Printmakers , 1976.43, © Robert A. Nelson, used with permission.

The Captivating Cat: Felines and the Artist’s Gaze

The exhibition will feature more than 70 works from the Museum’s permanent collection, depicting cats from ancient Egypt and China to the modern day through prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, fashion, and armor.


Yoshida, Toshi, Black Panther, 1987, woodblock print, ink and color on paper, chuban, Gift from the Judith and Paul A. Falcigno Collection , 2010.129, ©Estate of Yoshida Toshi, used with permission.

Cat Walk Self-Guided Tour

Visitors will also be able to take a self-guided tour of cat art throughout the Museum. Highlights include tigers in Worcester Hunt Mosaic, the painting, Woman with a Cat by Gustave Courbet, and an Egyptian cat sculpture.


L to R: Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, Untitled (Girl with Cat and Tiles), 20th century , color lithograph on cream wove paper, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hall James Peterson , 1982.124, ©2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris; Chinese, Female Figure with Peony Branch, Accompanied by a Lion, Qing Dynasty, lapis lazuli, Bequest of Mrs. Harry W. Goddard, in memory of Harry W. Goddard, 1938.28; Helen Hyde, A Mexican Coquette, 1912, woodcut on cream Japan paper, Anonymous Gift, 1988.78.

Community Art Show

A key component of Meow will also be a community art show entitled Community Cats. This project will be held in collaboration with the Worcester Animal Rescue League. Artists, collectors, and cat-enthusiasts are encouraged to submit a work of art they have created or collected to Community Cats. This exhibition will display the broad artistic interpretations of this beloved theme. Whether the work of art was created in memory of a longtime pet, is an interpretive study, or is the centerpiece of your own private art collection, the Worcester Art Museum hopes to showcase the cat artworks held within the Worcester community.


Will Barnet, Meditation and Minou, 1980, Gift of the Artist, 1994.196, ©Will Barnet Trust/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Alexandre Gallery, New York, NY.

Cat Craft Classes

The museum will also be holding cat craft classes throughout the spring and summer in conjunction with Meow. Get paws-on with a variety of cat-related studio art classes and weekend workshops including Pet Portraits, Create Your Own Cat Toy, Curator Talks, and much more!


Clockwise from top left: Egyptian, Eleventh Dynasty, Head of Cat, bronze, Mrs. Kingsmill Marrs Collection , 1925.655; Japanese, Koho Shoda, Black Cat at Night, Woodblock Print; Yoshida, Toshi, Lion, 1987, woodblock print, ink and color on paper, chuban, Gift from the Judith and Paul A. Falcigno Collection, 2010.127, ©Estate of Yoshida Toshi, used with permission; Gustave Courbet, French, 1819-77, Woman with a Cat, 1864, Oil on canvas, Museum purchase, 1940.300.

Cats-in-Residence Program

And finally, interact with live cats in an unorthodox human/cat contemporary art installation, previously presented in Los Angeles, Hartford, and New York City. Guest curated by artist and critic Rhonda Lieberman, this exhibition is presented in partnership with the Worcester Animal Rescue League. Cats in the show will be available for adoption.


Photo credit: Ethan Swann


Photo credit: Ethan Swann & Lisa Anne Auerbach


Photo credit: Ethan Swann


Photo credit: Brica Wilcox & Lisa Anne Auerbach

Meow kicks off with an opening night party tomorrow, May 20 (tickets available here) and will run through September 4, 2016. Don’t miss this spectacular celebration of our feline friends!