Behind-the-scenes Peek at Caturday Saturdays
Are 42 cats too many felines for one person to own? In today's world, the answer would most likely be yes. In 1891, a San Francisco millionaire commissioned what is known as the world's greatest cat painting to celebrate his wife's beloved pets. This month, the Oregon Humane Society and the Portland Art Museum are teaming up to help cat fanciers enjoy "My Wife's Lovers." The 6-by 8.5 foot painting, shown at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, depicts more than three dozen cats owned by San Francisco philanthropist Kate Birdsall Johnson.
"We don't encourage anyone to take ownership of 42 cats, but judging from this painting, it appears all of them were living in the lap of luxury," said Sharon Harmon, OHS executive director.
Each Saturday in March, the museum will host "Caturday" pop-up events highlighting the intersection of cats and art. The events will include improv comedy, original rap and cat poetry, and more. OHS will be present on the March 5 with cats available for adoption and an expert to discuss cat behavior issues. It will be interesting to see what the cats of OHS think of the world's greatest cat painting. "I don't know if the painting captures the je ne sais quoi of a cats essence," said OHS resident feline, Gus. "Our existence can't be reduced to a mere canvas."
About the painting: Carl Kahler's My Wife's Lovers is a massive painting commissioned by San Francisco philanthropist Kate Birdsall Johnson in 1891. The 6-by-8.5-foot canvas, which features 42 of the millionaire's beloved cats, was seen at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and now makes a stop in one of the cat-friendliest cities in the country.