A preparatory drawing was sold in 1883 but has been lost. More recently on 03 Nov 2022 a good example of the print was sold at Swann Galleries in New York for £6,710 including premium. The condition is not perfect which is reflected in the price, however it has been beautifully restored and conserved. Please read the condition report.
Condition: The print has been lined to consolidate two skilfully repaired tears. The first is a fine star puncture measuring approximately 1.5 cm, in the nape of neck of the cat. This tear has been sensitively touched in along with two other minor scuff marks. The second is a vertical tear approximately 3.5 cm from the bottom of the sheet to the edge of the image (bottom right). All work including mounting has been carried out by an accredited paper conservator.
Renowned for his close observations of nature, Visscher engraved one of the most famous portrayals of the cat in Western art. The large tabby cat is crouching at rest, but its protracted front paws and alert ears may indicate that it is lying in prey. Visscher expertly expresses the stiffness of the cat’s whiskers, and the softness of its fur. A mouse is emerging through the bars of an arched window to the left behind the cat but seems paralyzed by the ambiguous posture of his enemy. It is possible that Visscher’s depiction of a sleeping cat, ignoring the mouse creeping out behind it, is alluding to a Biblical verse, Proverbs 19:15, that ” Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.”