Natan Altman

(1889 - 1970)


Marcel Aymé

Les Contes du Chat perché

The stories of the perched cat

Paris: Gallimard, 1934

245 x 184 mm. 140 pages.

Edition: 5,000.


Altman belongs to those artists that established the revolutionary face of Russian art. He had an inquisitive mind and a broad range of interests. He was a painter, an illustrator, a book and theatre designer and a professional sculptor. After a tour with the Jewish Theatre, whose principal designer he had become, Altman remained in Paris until 1935. In this period the artist’s style changed from a more constructivist (see his cover designs in nr. 56) to a more decorative, narrative one. The Stories of the seated cat were first published as a collection of three stories (above) but later in 1935, as three reworked separate editions as well. Altman designed the covers and 62 colour lithographs for illustrations. The stories of the cat seated on a branch of a flowering tree, were told for Aymé’s grandchild and had an immediate success when published by Gallimard. As a technique Altman used watercolour with collage that were transferred to the lithographic stones. The background was built from a freely formed plane that had for each story its own colour. The animals, the main characters of the story, are represented as humans beings, they play with the children, wear glasses and can read. Aymé was delighted by the inexhaustible artistic ideas of Altman for these stories.  


Cappe 1940, no. 60

Etkind 1984, pp.123

Leveque 1997, p.3

Valencia: 1998, p.102

Solomatina 2001, no. 349-350

Cerisier 2008, pp. 60-69

Seslavinskii 2009, pp. 78-82





L' éléphant

The elephant

Paris: Gallimard, 1935.

246 x 188 mm. 32 pages

Edition: 5,800.









Le mauvais jars

The mad goose

Paris: Gallimard, 1935

232 x 184 mm. 32 pages

Edition: 5,800









Le loup

The wolf

Paris: Gallimard, 1941.

232 x 184 mm. 24 pages.

Edition: 6,500.







Les boeufs

The oxes

Paris: Gallimard, 1941.

234 x 184 mm. 24 pages

Edition: 6,500.