Often held up as the classic example of a schizophrenic artist, in recent decades there has come to be greater respect for the talents of Victorian-era illustrator of anthropomorphic cats, Louis Wain.
Wain’s famous felines were born of his efforts to amuse his wife as she was dying of breast cancer and the cats become increasingly anthropomorphic.
His cat drawins were wildly popular in Victorian England, however popularity of Wain’s cats eventually dwindled and a little later so did Wain’s finances and mental health. In his later years he was committed to a mental hospital in the poverty ward.
From here on Wain’s cats became more abstract and less whimsical. His once playful cats began to resemble fearsome, almost kaleidoscopic, Hindu deities, barely recognisable as felines. Many psychological textbooks feature drawings from various stages in the artist’s career to show the progression of Wain’s schizophrenia.
I find Wain’s ‘schisophrenic’ cats look very similar to what one might see on DMT- like seeing into a 4th dimension.. terrifying, complex and extremely beautiful…