updated 12/17/2008 AT 5:52 PM ET
•originally published 12/18/2008 AT 8:00 AM ET
There are heart-warming memoirs about incorrigible dogs. Cartoon books on what you can learn from your cat. Serious books on training your pet. And still you may not know what would be a good gift for the dog or cat lover you know. You can also sink your teeth into these books about animals from an unexpected source: famous artists.
1. Andy Warhol’s early work is especially delightful, including simple sketches of shoes and bags, and some fine portraits of the cats in his life (like one friendly fellow named Sam). Cats, Cats, Cats is just what it says – a collection of Warhol’s cat portraits. Some of the cats are rendered in purple, pink or green, but the cat attitude Warhol captured is perfectly true to life.
2. Most everyone has seen Tournée du Chat Noir, the ubiquitous poster advertising a 19th century French nightclub. What may be less familiar is the artist behind the work, Théophile Steinlen. A book of his drawings, Steinlen Cats, could make another great gift for the cat lover. Says one Amazon.com reviewer, “These drawings seem to move by themselves within the printed page…I could almost feel the warmth of life in each.”
3. There are plenty of options for dog lovers, too. Dogs, a collection of dog art by Keith Haring, captures our canine friends in all their goofy, and occasionally surreal, glory.
4. Anyone who’s a fan of George Rodrigue’s famous blue dog, or his other wide-eyed, pointy-eared pooches, would enjoy the collection George Rodrigue Prints: A Catalogue Raisonne 1970-2007.
5. If you don’t want to stick to a particular artist, there’s a seemingly endless supply of books dedicated to animals as depicted in art, such as The Artful Dog: Canines from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Impressionist Cats and Dogs: Pets in the Painting of Modern Life, The Cat in Art, and Dogs in the Louvre.