Famous Artists and Their Pets

Georgia O'Keeffe Grooms her Dogs by John Loengard, 1966 © John Loengard

For decades artists have enjoyed the soothing and therapeutic effects their pets have had in their lives and work. A studio without a cat, dog or even a hawk is a lonely one. From Luis Wain and his ‘cat society’ to Frida and her array of creatures, the following pets have a place in art history!

English artist , Louis Wain

English artist, Louis Wain is best known for his drawings, which consistently featured anthropomorphised large-eyed cats and kittens. Here he is shown with his pet cat Peter. H. G. Wells said of him, “He has made the cat his own. He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look and live like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves.”


Wassily‬ Kandinsky was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting the first purely abstract works. Here he is shown with his cat, Vaske.


Norman Rockwell was a famous 20th-century American painter and illustrator. He was most famous for his Illustrations of everyday life. Here Norman Rockwell is shown working with his Dog Pitter.


Pablo Picasso a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer who spent most of his adult life in France. As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement. Shown with his dog Lump.


Jackson Pollock, was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was well known for his unique style of drip painting. Shown with Gyp and Ahab.


Henri Matisse‬ was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He first started to paint in 1889, after his mother brought him art supplies during a period of convalescence following an attack of appendicitis. He discovered “a kind of paradise” as he later described it, and decided to become an artist, deeply disappointing his father. Looks like his cat was happy though!


Paul Klee‬ born in Switzerland, and is considered both a German and a Swiss[a] painter. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. In his early years, following his parents’ wishes, he focused on becoming a musician; but he decided on the visual arts during his teen years, partly out of rebellion and partly because of a belief that modern music lacked meaning for him. He stated, “I didn’t find the idea of going in for music creatively particularly attractive in view of the decline in the history of musical achievement.” Shown here with dog Bimbo.


Salvador Dalí‬ was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter. Dalí was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics. Shown getting attention with pet Babou.

okeef and her chow

Georgia O’Keeffe‬ has been recognized as the Mother of American Modernism. Known as a loner (except for her beloved pets), In 1972, O’Keeffe’s eyesight was compromised by Macular degeneration, leading to the loss of central vision and leaving her with only peripheral vision. She stopped oil painting without assistance in 1972, but continued working in pencil and charcoal until 1984. Shown with her beloved Chow dog.

frida-pet hawk, 1939

Frida Kahlo with her pet deer

Frida Kahlo and her Xoloitzcuintli dogs

And my personal favorite:

‪Frida Kahlo‬ a Mexican painter who is best known for her self-portraits. Drawn from personal experiences, including her marriage, her miscarriages, and her numerous operations, Kahlo’s works are often characterized by their suggestions of pain.

“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” She also stated, “I was born a bitch. I was born a painter.” Shown with pet Hawk, Pet Deer, Xoloitzcuintli Dogs

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