The Suitcase Lady


October 6, 2009, 9:59 pm

Good things bear repeating. I recently had occasion to revisit the KattenKabinet, and it remains delightful.

“KattenKabinet” is Dutch for “Cats’ Cabinet”. Don’t envision an emporium of Hello Kitty cuteness. This museum has a serious collection of fine art with works by Rembrandt, Picasso, Manet, Toulouse Lautrec and many other artists. An entire room is filled with sculptures, paintings and prints by Theophile Alexandre Steinlen. The subject matter of these master works is the unifying factor… all the artworks depict cats.

The museum was founded in 1990 by a well-to-do financier, William Meijer, in memory of his red tomcat, John Pierpoint Morgan. Mister Meijer’s taste in pets and art was obviously refined.

If you are not a lover of art or felines, you still might enjoy the KattenKabinet. The museum is in an elegant old canal house in the heart of Amsterdam on Herengracht, the Gentlemen’s Canal, which was named for the seventeen gentlemen who directed the Dutch East Indies Trading Company. The neighborhood remains upscale.

A small, discrete sign announces the museum, and you must ring the doorbell for entry. Opulent does not begin to describe the interiors. For felineophiles a final treat is in store. Several real cats live and roam freely through the museum. I must admit that this is the only museum I have ever been in that has a litter box in the corner of one of the galleries.

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