Cats at School – circa 1945

In an earlier postcard story about a beautiful art postcard printed in Switzerland, I made a reference to the American publisher, Alfred Mainzer.

Mainzer published the works of Swiss printers, and I have several excellent examples of art work that the firm distributed in the United States.

To most postcard collectors, however, this art publisher is forever related to the “Mainzer Cats” –  postcard prints of anthropomorphic cats that were painted by Eugen Hartung.

From the 1940’s to the 1960’s, Hartung produced more than a hundred scenes of cats that were published by Alfred Mainzer.

Despite the enormous popularity of these postcards, many contemporary critics view the cat pictures of Hartung as inferior to the work of other famous animal illustrators. 

In this view, the Hartung cats are more like humans with cat faces.

The postcard today was printed circa 1945; the work was printed by Max Kunzli and the address of Alfred Mainzer is in Manhattan.

(Later postcards were printed by other Swiss firms, and the Alfred Mainzer address is Long Island, NY.)

In this scene, the school seems to be undergoing an inspection by the Board of Education or some other authority.

Several authoritative cats watch the classroom activity, while other large cats peruse student work posted on the bulletin board.

The teacher seems to be quizzing the student kittens, as several pupils have raised their paws.

The collector of the postcard has inscribed, “School Day” on the reverse; the postcard as neither addressed nor mailed.

These postcards are still avidly collected by children and adults who find joy in the well-drawn scenes.


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