First let me say, I fallen victim to the “Dracula Effect” and now wish that I was writing my final paper about Wain, is it too late?
Louis Wain was born in Clerkenwell, London in 1860. The oldest of six children. At the age of 20 he became a freelance artist to support his mother and sisters following the death of his father. His specialties were illustrations of animals and country scenes. Wain found work with several London Journals including “The Illustrated London News.”
At 23, Wain married his sister’s governess, Emily, who also happened to be ten years his senior. (ESCANDALO!) Tragically, Emily was ill with what would turn out to be breast cancer and within three years of their union, she would be dead. During her illness, Wain began to draw pictures of their adopted stray kitten to cheer her up. It was around this time that Wain would begin to experiment with anthropomorphised cats.
Over the next several years Wain would produce hundreds of images in a variety of forms including hundreds of children’s books, post cards, cartoons, and paintings. Wain was also heavily involved in Animal Charity Societies.
In the early 1900s, following a trip to America to do some work for Hearst publishing, Wain began to exhibit symptoms of a mental disorder. He suffered from delusions, became hostile, slept little, and spent long periods locked in his room. Eventually diagnosed with Schizophrenia, his sisters could no longer care for him and he was committed to the Springfield mental hospital.
Wain’s paintings done during this time are now frequently referenced by psychologists as examples of psychological deterioration. Wain’s focus shifted from making the cats look human to the cats themselves and then to shapes, lines and colors that obscure almost any recognizable vision of a cat