CATS AND KITTENS (1956), A PORTFOLIO OF DRAWINGS
CATS AND KITTENS (1956), was another treasured portfolio. Amidst completing WIDGET, re-illustrating HERBERT THE LION, moving back to Santa Fe, being honored at the Chicago Children’s Book Week and in New York, Clare also managed to publish a new portfolio, CATS AND KITTENS. A Santa Fe writer with the New Mexican, Mary Martinez wrote in her Colonyscope column:
From Harper & Brothers, New York, comes the new Portfolio of Cats and Kittens by former colony member, Clare Trujillo, known to her worldwide public as Clare Turlay Newberry. My Seal Point Siamese, Dulce Felipe, has seen his lovely mother, Chirn Sa-Hai Blue Lili (my Lilipuss who was left in Mexico City) in Clare’s sensitive charcoal…There’s no living with him now. And Malo, his dark and handsome father, is in the Portfolio, Malo the adored of Fran and Tim King, the cat who has his own “piñata” every Christmas and who fell four stories to the pavement of Calle Sena without hardly shaking himself up. Clare’s new Portfolio, which includes drawings of Persians and Abyssinians, is a beautiful addition to the long list of beautiful books on cats that she has produced during the last fifteen years.
Her portfolio also featured some of her classic characters—Mittens and Pandora —but mainly featuring all new portraits of exotic Brown Tabby Longhairs, Siamese, and Abyssinians. Designed for easy framing, the 16 pieces were printed by photogravure on vellum sheets 10 ½ by 14 inches. In CATS AND KITTENS, Clare presented a ‘chart’ to all the prints that was in itself amazing, which I’ve included below.
In a review titled, “Newberry Draws For Us,” Cats Magazine truly purred:
Every drawing bears the imprint of the artist’s empathy with her subjects, whether tiny, timorous Pudge or Malo—leonine majestic symbol of masculinity and feline power.”
Included was a priceless eight pages of commentary by Clare “introducing each subject, recounting the occasion of each, and explaining her methods of working…. For the first time within recent years, we of the cat world have been favored by having the drawings of one of our own great artists reproduced in portfolio form by a leading publisher…. This is truly an exceptional publishing event—one that every lover of cats deserves to know.
Publishers’ Weekly announced: Clare Newberry is the cats’ court painter of America.” The San Francisco Chronicle printed four of the portfolio pieces; “Clare Turlay Newberry thinks it would be delightful to have a pet puma in her studio. But for the moment she’s content sketching and writing about the more domestic variety of cats, such as those included in her latest portfolio, ‘Cats and Kittens.’
Newsweek covered some of the events honoring Clare’s work—a literary party held for her in New York, as well as her speaking engagements for the Association of Childhood Education and Young Peoples’ Librarians.
I had not seen this portfolio since my childhood, but I instantly recognized my very own Lilipuss—and with kittens, too! And, of course, I recognized Malo. Clare took a photograph of Malo sleeping next to Daddy, as was his habit.