Best art gallery ever: Katten Kabinet in AmsterdamPosted by in travel
On our most recent trip to Amsterdam, my husband and I stumbled across a beautiful little art gallery. The Katten Kabinet is housed inside a beautiful historical building and the name translates to (surprise surprise)…Cat Cabinet!
It’s no secret I’m a cat person (although I adore dogs too) and I’m not a seasoned art expert by any stretch of the imagination, often I find it all a bit intimidating. To me, this gallery’s collection, which offers “a wide look at the role of the cat in art and in culture through the centuries” was near-perfection…
Many of the artists on display must have been cat owners (if you can ever really own a cat) and I can just imagine them at home, honing their skill or maybe struggling with a new idea, and looking to their beloved pets as a source of inspiration.
There’s such an interesting mix of posters, playbills, paintings, drawings, photographs and sculpture in this gallery – sometimes beautiful, sometimes quirky but always cats :)
It wouldn’t be a gallery of cat-inspired art without the famous 1896 poster advertising the Parisian Le Chat Noir cabaret:
The poster below from 1899 was one of my favourites in the gallery and is by the same artist as the Chat Noir piece. Isn’t the dress just gorgeous? I love the way all the cats are climbing over her shoulders and nuzzling into her (I grew up with four cats and that’s precisely what happens when you attempt to eat tuna around them).
This sculpture is a more modern piece from 1980 by Heidi Damen. There’s something quite nice about a cat holding a baby whilst wearing a robe, don’t you think?
The drawing below is called poes met rokje (cat with skirt) by surrealist artist Leonor Fini and is my absolute favourite from the Katten Kabinet. I adore it – it’s so unusual but so sweet and the cat print on her skirt is just brilliant.
I picked up the postcard (which I’ve just photographed at home) in the gift shop, where lots of the pieces on display are available to take home as posters or postcards. We picked up the Katten Kabinet’s own ‘branded’ poster, which you can see outside the building in the photo below. After a little research, it looks as though the gallery has adapted an illustration by Rudyard Kipling which he created for his story The Cat that Walked by Himself (you can actually read the story online here!).
Best of all, there are two real cats who live in the Katten Kabinet and happily roam the gallery. This one was sitting inside the Lucky Cat pinball game machine that was in one of the rooms, swatting at the pinball every time it rolled down between the jingling ‘lucky cats’.
If you can’t make it to Amsterdam to visit in person, there’s a virtual tour, gift store and more information about the collection on their website.
Are you a cat person? Is the Katten Kabinet the type of art gallery you’d visit? Would love to know!