Famous for his portraits of stylised cats, Jacques Lehman named NAM (1881-1974) was a multi-talented artist. Born into a family of musicians, he somehow developed a passion for cats at an early stage.

After a year of training at the ‘Ecole des Beaux-Arts’ in Paris at the studio of Gérôme, Nam explored, just like his contemporaries, the ‘Jardin de Plantes’ as well as the renowned zoo in Antwerp, studying and drawing the various animals there.
Nam’s favourite subjects were undoubtedly cats, however he also took pleasure in depicting exotic animals; monkeys, reptiles, and larger predators. His subject variety strengthened the decorative aspect of his works.

Nam was also experienced in the technic of Chinese lacquering, portraying felines with great finesse and aptitude on decorative panels, privacy-screens and large interior decorations. He was widely received amongst the collectors of the inter-war period. Stylistically, his works are highly representative of the Art Déco style.
He also collaborated with the French media companies by publishing his eloquent drawings in the magazines ‘Le Rire’, ‘Le Sourire’, ‘La Vie Parisienne’ and his political ones in ‘Le Figaro', ‘Le Journal’ and ‘L’Echo de Paris’.

The illustration of books took an important place in his work after his collaboration with Colette, to whom he was very close. Nam worked with her on ‘Sept dialogues de bêtes’ in 1912 alongside André Demaison and Claude Ferrère.

Nam was a sculptor as much as a poet and a musician. Many of his cats were reproduced in porcelain by the ‘Manufacture de Sèvres’ and some of his animals were gilded in bronze.

Nam’s work is characterised by a sublime accuracy and a mastery in depicting movement. His talent brought him renown and success in his lifetime, his great legacy and reputation remains amongst the art-lovers of today. 


2018.09.22 – 2018.10.12
Galerie Dumonteil Paris