Saturday, January 30, 2010

Louis Wain

Louis Wain was born on August 5, 1860. He was from London and studied at the West London School of the Arts. He specialized in drawing animals and worked at such journals as the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News and Illustrated London News.

He was married at age 23 to a woman 10 years older then him. She died of cancer 3 years into their marriage. It was doing this time that he took his sketching of animals to a more specific muse their cat Peter. He would draw pictures of Peter doing silly things to comfort her.

Over the next 30 years Wain went on to produce children's books and appear in papers, journals, and magazines. He became a very popular freelance artist.

Despite his success he ended up broke and back at home. He had mental illness in his family. His youngest sister was certified as insane and admitted to an asylum. It was after his decline in popularity and the death of his mother that the signs of Wain's own onset of mental illness had begun. His personality began to change. Once a kind trusting man he started to become hostile and suspicious. When his sisters could not longer take his erratic behavior they finally had him committed in 1924.

Wains work took a more abstract nature as he grew older. Louis told doctors that he could see and feel electromagnetic currents surrounding living bodies. His once detailed realistic cat portraits started to look more psychedelic and colorful.

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