The Edenic Relationship of Humans with Animals In Heinrich Kley

Self-portrait of Heinrich Kley next to his "Eiswalzer".
Self-portrait of Heinrich Kley next to his “Eiswalzer” (Waltz on ice).

Did Heinrich Kley allude to the myth of the Edenic relationship of humans with animals?

A Genius Of Illustration And Painting

Heinrich Kley (1863 – 1945), was well known in his heyday in Germany, as an “industry artist” specialized in painting manufacturing scenes. But he became appreciated in the USA for his imaginative, dreamlike, and sometimes darkly humorous pen drawings often depicting anthropomorphized animals interacting with humans.

And that was after, in 1937, Coronet magazine published three special issues devoted to the German artist’s imaginative illustrations, thus contributing to his success in the United States.

Walt Disney, besides building a vast collection of his works, drew inspiration from Kley for some Disney productions such as Fantasia.

The Edenic Relationship Of Humans With Animals

Although Kley’s illustrations depicting scenes of humans in close contact with animals may be somewhat disturbing to some, we believe that they are open to different interpretations like all works of art.

Indeed, the lovely and evocative drawing we have chosen for this t-shirt, merrily reminds us of the Edenic relationship of humans with animals when, as noted by Alfredo Cattabiani in Calendario, none of them ate meat:

“Behold” said God to Adam and Eve “I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat.”

[A. Clarke,The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments (New York:  T. Mason G. Lane, 1837), 46.]

That is not to say that this is what Kley had in mind, only that it can be read like that.

Read it as you please. And, above all, wear it.

Heinrich Kley's Interspecies Dance t-shirt

Click to see Heinrich Kley’s Interspecies Dance T-shirt