Ambrose Vollard commissioned the artwork in 1926, which illustrated the story of a man who loved his cat so much that he turned her into a woman to marry her. However, the cat woman was not an ideal companion as she had a cat mind and chased mice. It is part of a series that Chagall worked on based on La Fontaine's Fables.

The Technique

In the typical Chagall technique, The Cat Transformed into a Woman is a multi-coloured painting that is part fantasy in nature. He did it as etching with dry paint and oil paint on paper. Chagall etched the painting based on the original he did. The originals were one hundred highly coloured etched artworks of Fables. For The Cat Transformed into a Woman, after etching the painting, he hand-coloured it.

The subject of the painting is the woman with a flattened head and a face which is a mix of a woman and a cat. She is staring at the viewer while leaning on a small table. The painting is colourful with the cat woman's face and neck are in yellow, contrasted by a redshirt she is wearing. Her skirt is of a rich maroon with a pattern at the hem, near her ankles. The table she leans on and the chair she sits on is dark grey. The background is a pink hue except where her shadow falls on the wall behind her.

Above her head, behind her on the pink wall, is a window that lets in light. The window has two blue panes in the centre and olive tan panes on either side. The ground is light green. The picture does not have much depth as the woman is in the foreground, and everything else seems near her, rather than far behind her or in the middle.


Chagall's artwork is easily identified for its dream-like subjects heavily influenced by his personal history as a Jew and his hometown Vitebsk. In this painting, he uses vivid colours to blend fantasy and reality. The painting is in the Tate Gallery, London. Lady Clerk received the painting as a gift from the artist in 1937, later presenting it to the gallery ten years later.

The Cat Transformed into a Woman in Detail Marc Chagall

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