Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ballet Cats

It can be said that when one thinks of Edward Gorey, one usually thinks of cats. Smiling, mischievous, playful, up to something (or nothing at all) - cats. In 2004, I obtained a wonderful piece of original art by Mr. Gorey showing a pair of cats in ballet shoes performing a Pas de Deux. The ballerina cat is being held aloft by the danseur noble as they effortlessly execute their dance.

This drawing came from the estate of Rosalie Lewis, who was the former head of the New York City Ballet gift shop and merchandise development. This image was used by the ballet for a tee-shirt design entitled "New York Kitty Ballet". Was there an actual Kitty Ballet? Who can say?!

At the time this piece was offered to me by Gotham Book Mart, two other pieces from Ms. Lewis' estate were also offered. I was sent xerox copies of the artwork for my inspection, and I show them here. The second piece shows a single ballerina cat "en pointe". Notes from GBM stated that the image was drawn on tracing paper which had been mounted to heavy art stock.

The third image from this set is a spectacular ballet totem consisting of three pairs of dancers in a gravity defying performance. All three pen and ink drawings have hand written notations for enlargement (not in Mr. Gorey's handwriting).


Anonymous said...


Saatz said...

I just wanted to thank you so much for making this blog. I have been collecting books by Edward Gorey and books he has illustrated for five years and have found everything he has published extremely interesting. The jewels in my collection are The Black Doll, La Balade Troublante, and E.D. Ward A Mercurial Bear. I never get tired of reading all of your posts. I feel very lucky to be a Gorey collector. Thank you so much.

ampootozote said...

Remember to check out the Edward Gorey House store for things like the prints they are creating that can only be found there. I recently got a 2007 reprint of The Lavender Leotard from The House store that looks so much like the original printing, it makes you do a double take. Really nicely done.

Matthew Mohr said...

Say, you mentioned that the single ballerina cat is from a print. Have you seen it in any of his books?


ampootozote said...

The single cat was done for the NYC Ballet and I am not sure how they used it...presumably, it was for a t-shirt design. I have not seen it reproduced anywhere.