The Green Pillow by Arthur Wardle. Estimated price: $25,000. Image Credit: Bonhams

Wealthy cat ladies with a penchant for the arts, take note: The 19th century equivalent of LOLCats is going on sale this week. As part of a May 6 sale of 19th century European paintings at the New York outpost of Bonhams auction house, several magnificent works of feline appreciation are available to the public. 

As cat memes are to the Internet era, so finely realized paintings of cuddly domestic kittens were to Europe in the 1800s, and Bonhams’ latest sale features several grand masters of the genre, Dutch painters Henriette Ronner-Knip and Cornelis Raaphorst, as well as English painter Arthur Wardle, who also painted dogs.

A Terrier Playing With Kittens by Henriette Ronner-Knip. Estimated price: $40,000. Image Credit: Bonhams

As Madalina Lazen, Bonhams’ senior specialist in 19th century paintings, tells Vulture, the second half of the 19th century was something of a cat-painting renaissance:

‘It was a trend that snowballed,’ Lazen says. Bourgeois collectors, interested in enhancing plush domestic interiors, bought the cat canvases. It became a good market for artists, some of whom became well known in the genre. 

Someone get me $20,000 to $40,000! I have some very important art purchases to make. 

[h/t: Vulture