Artists and Their Pets

18 Aug



I’m excited to announce the imminent release of a wonderful new book, Artists and Their Pets—written by Susie Hodge, with illustrations by Yours Truly, Violet Lemay. The book is full of fascinating stories. In light of recent world events, I thought I’d share one in particular.




Matisse, Picasso, and The Dove of Peace


Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, two of the twenty artists featured in Artists and Their Pets, had a lot in common. Friends and rivals, they both loved animals and kept pigeons and doves. Toward the end of his life when Matisse was ill, he entrusted Picasso to look after his fancy pet pigeons. Here is a snippet of the story from Artists and Their Pets:


There wasn’t room in Artists and Their Pets for this part of the story:

peace dove*

Picasso’s lithograph “La Colombe” (The Dove)—which was actually a rendering of a pigeon—was used on a poster commemorating the Peace Conference in Paris in 1949. The poster was plastered everywhere, making Picasso’s dove famous, and linking his art with the cause of peace.

Picasso continued drawing doves, stylizing and simplifying the form of the bird as he went.


I originally had the pleasure of illustrating Picasso and his doves for Mauricio Velázquez de León’s 2014 picture book 100 Pablo Picassos—a lovely and creative biography of Picasso for small children. Here is a sketch…hands y dove… and a peek at how the whole thing came together.


In response to the recent terror attack in Barcelona, duopress—publisher of Artists and Their Pets and 100 Pablo Picassos—posted a snapshot of these pages on Instagram today, along with these words: Picasso’s simple drawing of a dove became a symbol of peace in 1945. #picasso would be shocked by the attacks in #barcelona, a city he loved. This image from our book #100pablopicassos is our message of #peace to all the victims of yesterday coward attack and all the citizens of #spain  #love  #noviolence #stopterrorism #nomoreviolence

Well said.

Wishing you all peace, joy, love… and art. ❤




Click here to pre-order Artists and Their Pets (available everywhere September 15, 2017)

Click here to order 100 Pablo Picassos (available everywhere books are sold)

5 Responses to “Artists and Their Pets”

  1. Adele Pile August 20, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, I absolutely love your illustrations! Our cats always get everyone books for Christmas. Mostly because it’s easy for them to order online. This one is going to be on their list for giving this year 😻

    • violetlemay August 20, 2017 at 11:02 pm #

      That’s so nice, Thanks Adele. I love that your cats are so thoughtful and generous. ❤ Lucky you!!

      • Adele Pile August 20, 2017 at 11:05 pm #

        You haven’t seen they way they wrap them. Let’s just say tape, fur and no opposable thumbs results in a less then appealing presentation that is jammed in the Christmas tree in frustration.

      • violetlemay August 20, 2017 at 11:06 pm #

        I want to come to Christmas at your house!! 🙂


  1. Pigeon – Practice Every Day - August 19, 2017

    […] The  story that links Matisse to Picasso’s doves is featured in the soon-to-be-released Artists and Their Pets, written by Susie Hodge and illustrated by Yours Truly, Violet Lemay. If you care to read more about these books, click here. […]

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