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A woman swaddling a frightened cat on right looks on intently as a man holds onto the cat’s paw.

A bearded man faces the cat in profile, eyebrows raised, as it claws at his robed upper arm. His wrist drops down to delicately hold the other paw with his boney hand. The fair-skinned woman’s eyebrows are raised and mouth agape as she focuses attention on the cat’s paw. The cat’s mouth is open, its eyes wide in panic or irritation.  The outer robes of the man and garment around the cat flow in a dramatic motion. Another man’s face peers in from the left, looking over the shoulder during the cat’s examination. Background is undescribed.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Jean Michel Liotard, Swiss (Geneva, Switzerland 1702 - 1760 Geneva, Switzerland)
After Jean-Antoine Watteau, French (Valenciennes 1684 - 1721 Nogent-sur-Marne)
The Sick Cat
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Le chat malade
Series/Book Title: Recueil Jullienne
Work Type
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

sheet: 36.8 × 26.6 cm (14 1/2 × 10 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: in plate, lower margin, left: Peint par A. Watteau.
  • inscription: in plate, lower margin, right: Gravé par J. E Liotard
  • inscription: in plate, lower margin, centered: Iris idolatre Minet. / Quoique de tous les chats minet soit le plus traitre; / Des traits de ressemblance ont produit cet effet; / Elle est folle d'un petit Maitre // Vous voyez avec joye un amant au trepas, / Tandis que pour un Chat vous prodiguez vos larmes; / Ce contraste bizarre Iris ne me plait pas, / Et je suis indigné de vos sottes allarmes; / Mais je ris quand je vois ce fou de medecin / Soigner cet animal et perfide et malin; / Sil n'appliquoit qu'aux Chats sa science incertaine, / Quel bonheur pour l'espece humaine! // Tableau de l'humaine folie / Iris idolatre son chat / Le medecin encor plus fat / Croit le rappeler a la vie
  • inscription: in plate, lower margin, left and right: Se vend a Paris rüe St.Jacques aux 2. / pilliers d'Or avec privilege du Roy.


Recorded Ownership History
Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster, Eaton Hall, Cheshire, by 1884, by descent, sold [through Christie's, London, July 15, 2015, lot 172]; to private collection, United Kingdom, sold [through C. G. Boerner LLC, New York], to; Harvard Art Museums, 2017

State, Edition, Standard Reference Number

only state
Standard Reference Number
Dacier & Vuaflart 32

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Richard Norton Memorial Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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