Ape And Cat (At The Dance)

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Jim Dine

American, born 1935

Ape and Cat (At the Dance), 1993

  • On View

Bronze

Dimensions: 70 1/4 × 47 × 48 1/2 in. (178.4 × 119.4 × 123.2 cm)

Museum purchase with funds from the Collection Endowment and funds donated by Mr. William S. White, 2013.50

Jim Dine was inspired by a small, 19th-century porcelain figure of a cat and ape in human clothes in his creation of this large-scale bronze sculpture. It derives from a series of drawings in the 1990s that follow the relationship of this unlikely but adoring couple. At once amusing, allegorical, and unabashedly romantic, this sculpture group can invite many different interpretations. Since the Middle Ages, artists have used the figure of the ape as a symbol of the art of painting and sculpture. The artist’s skill was regarded as essentially imitative and became linked with the animal that was known for this characteristic. The idea was expressed in a popular saying “Ars simia Naturae”—“Art is the ape of nature.” Other creatures, cats and owls in particular, sometimes took the place of apes. With this symbol, the artist was satirizing man’s pretentiousness, follies, and vanities.

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