Cats Painted in the Progression of
Psychosis of a Schizophrenic Artist

By Silvia Helena Cardoso

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Louis Wain 
The progressive escape of reality towards delusion is expressed in the pictures below. They were painted by Louis Wain, an European artist in the beginning of this century. Since Wain was young, he used to draw and paint cats for calendars, albums, postcards, etc. When he became 57 years old, he  was affected by an unknow mental disorder , which overtook his life as well his art. The last 15 years of his life were spent in psychiatric institutions. His cat's paintings started to change and to show startling images. Quite revealing of his psychotic condition were the cat's eyes. See how they become fixed with hostility, even in the earliest paintings, because the psychotic probably tends to think that the world is looking upon him in a menacing way. Another sign is the fragmentation of the cat's body. They become altered in a strange way under the psychotic's gaze, and almost always are represented as distorted and phantastic shapes

Normal Period

Psychotic Period

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5

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High resolution files on Stages 1, 2 and 3:
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Copyright ©  Silvia Helena Cardoso