Having moved to Rouen with his family in January, he worked primarily on landscapes in a similar vein to his friend and mentor Camille Pissarro, who had also spent time working in Rouen. Gauguin made several efforts to develop the same Impressionist style as his peers, yet these were variously met with a lukewarm response, and largely dismissed by Pissarro for lacking an essential vitality. Subsequently, the artist relinquished his attempts to emulate his peers, and started to paint in his own manner. In this vein Gauguin created several miniature portraits at this time in his own unique style. Each work seeming to encapsulate a certain fondness with its diminutive scale, especially noticeable in the present work. The hint of a red ribbon around the subject's neck suggests an intimate relationship: this was perhaps a family pet or a frequent visitor to the Gauguin household.
Cats would feature extensively in Gauguin’s later work, prowling the sandy Tahitian landscapes for which the artist is renowned, or simply as peripheral feline presence, alluded to by a disappearing tail at the edge of the frame.
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