Tuesday is Caturday: an im-paws-sibly good thirties-era illustration


Three cats watching fish in an aquarium, a 20x200 Vintage Edition
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 30"x24" ($800)


Look what the cat dragged in! And by cat, we mean our curatorial team. And by dragged, we mean meticulously sourced from the New York Public Library’s 1930s digital archives and retouched to its original glory. Today’s new Vintage Edition, Three cats watching fish in an aquarium, is quite possibly peak cat for us (viz. vaguely devious, clearly fabulous felines quietly contemplating their catch of the day). Do with that info what you will. All we know is this image totally charmed even the most diehard dog lover in our ranks, which says a lot about its charismatic powers. Better yet, unlike the real thing these cats won’t play hard to get. You can take yours home today.

Our starring cool kitties are staring down their intended target—three plump, pretty fish gliding around in a glass aquarium. Please, for the love of art, zoom in on the green fish’s incredible, anxious side eye. If that expression doesn’t inject a little joy into your life, perhaps a trio of symmetrically posed siamese felines will strike your fancy, or the layered, colorful layout and peculiarly flat perspective. You don’t need to be a cat person to appreciate the playful vibe, poppy palette, and appealing detail work in this vintage print. Add to that this artwork’s interesting history and you’ve got something extraordinary on your hands.

This print's origins trace back to the Federal Writers’ Project (or the FWP), part of FDR’s Depression-era Works Progress Administration. Via an array of public initiatives, the FWP provided jobs to writers, librarians, clerks, researchers, editors, and more. Over ten thousand people found employment through the FWP, and their collective effort resulted in thousands of publications, including children's books. These books were meant to offer some reprieve from the difficulties of daily life during the Great Depression, but they were also a way to teach children facts, improve their reading skills, and convey ideas of morality and justice through simple, easy-to-read narratives, striking illustrations, and intriguing graphic design.

Three cats watching fish in an aquarium was plucked from Wilson Morris’s A Day With Bum; and the smart little fish, illustrated by Clyde A. Copson. It's Copson's signature that you'll spy in the lower right corner of this edition. The book itself now lives in the Rare Books Room at the main branch of the New York Public Library. Just another reason we love this edition—rare books make our hearts go pitter patter.

We’ve already come up with a few perfect places to hang this piece. First, a kid’s room, (it’s from an old school children’s book, after all). Second, a bathroom, (to double down on the aquatic energy with some fish action). Third, a foyer, perhaps above an entryway bench, (in lieu of a real-life kitty welcoming committee). And if standalone isn’t your steez, this vintage image adds a clever, classic touch to any gallery-style assortment. All that is to say: collect this edition right meow.

With art for everyone,
Team 20x200

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