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In 1926 Ambroise Vollard commissioned Chagall to illustrate La Fontaine's 'Fables'. 'The Cat Transformed into a Woman' illustrates the story of a man who so adored his cat that he was able to turn her into a woman and marry her. He thought she would be the perfect wife. However, he soon realised he could not change her in every respect, as she still chased mice. This work is one of a hundred etchings executed by Chagall for the 'Fables'. Vollard was criticized for not commissioning a French artist, but he believed Chagall shared the same aesthetic sense as La Fontaine, 'being at the same time naive and subtle, realistic and fantastic'.

August 2004