Silvester, Hans 1938-

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Silvester, Hans 1938-


Born 1938, in Germany.




Holz am Strand, Keller (Starnberg, Germany), 1961.

Frankreich, Fackelträger-Verlag (Hanover, Germany), 1965.

Pferdeparadies Camargue, Schwarz (Bayreuth, Germany), 1967.

Reiter der Camargue, P. Parey (Berlin, Germany), 1972.

(With Jean-Paul Clébert) Tsiganes et gitans, Chêne (Paris, France), 1974.

Horses of the Camargue, translated by Jill Hugh-Jones, Viking (New York, NY), 1976, translated by Laurel Hirsch, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2002.

The Route of the Incas, Viking Press (New York, NY), 1977, published as The Land of the Incas, Thames & Hudson (London, England), 1977, reprinted, 1986.

(With Yvan Audouard) Pétanque et jeu Provençal, Chêne (Paris, France), 1977.

Divagation sentimentale dans les Maures, Chêne (Paris, France), 1979.

Fêtes et chemins d'Andalousie, Chêne (Paris, France), 1980.

L'autre Provence, F. Nathan (Paris, France), 1987.

Water, Legacy Words, 1991.

Cats in the Sun, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1994.

(With Christine Meunier) Lavender: Fragrance of Provence, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 1996.

The Mediterranean Cat, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1996.

Asleep in the Sun, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1997.

Dogs in the Sun, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1998.

Kittens in the Sun, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1999.

The Complete Cats in the Sun, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2000.

(With Patricia Gautier) Les cavaliers du Shekhawati: mémoire des fresques du Rajasthan, Martinière (Paris, France), 2001.

(With Marie-France Dupuis-Tate and Bernard Fischesser) H20: The Beauty and Mystery of Water, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2001.

Desert Eves: An Indian Paradise, translated by Lory Frankel, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2002.

Cats in Love, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2003.

(With Hubert Comte) Cats, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2005.

C'était Ailleurs, Martinière (Paris, France), 2006.

Ethiopia: Peoples of the Omo Valley, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2007.

Les habits de la Nature, Martinière (Paris, France), 2007.

Into the Wind: The Art of the Kite, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2008.


Photographer Hans Silvester has published many volumes of work in which his subjects are landscapes and animals. Horses, dogs, and particularly cats, grace the pages of his collections, and his cat collections include Cats in the Sun, the first in a series of books of cat photographs featuring the feline residents of the Greek islands of Mykonos, Milos, and Naxos. Greeks do not allow pets in their homes, with the exception of canaries, and so their cats can be seen lounging, grooming, and playing in the sun for all to see. The cats are appreciated, however, particularly for the rodent control they provide, and enjoy their freedom while being fed such delicacies as fresh sardines. This has resulted in a type of cat that is not wild, but that is very independent.

Phoebe-Lou Adams reviewed Cats in the Sun in the Atlantic Monthly, noting that in getting these shots, Silvester employed both skill and patience. One photograph depicts a cat in midair with a fish in its mouth, and another shows a cat interacting with an unfriendly dog. In a dozen shots, Silvester offers a scene with a cat and a mouse. Adams praised Silvester for his photographs of unposed animals in their natural setting. She added: "The backgrounds of soft-edged, human-scale island architecture are an additional delight."

Brad Hooper reviewed this volume in Booklist, writing that it is: "For any appreciator of fine photography, not just those who love cats." Pam Lambert commented in a People review that what makes these photographs "stand out, even more than the striking composition and vibrant colors, is their sense of place."

In Lavender: Fragrance of Provence, Silvester's subject is photographed in France and represented by 132 selections that showcase lavender and its hybrid lavandin during every season of the year. At the same time the viewer can discern the changes in the general landscape of Provence as the months pass. As the book notes, lavender has grown wild in this region since ancient times, and it became a commercial crop at the beginning of the twentieth century. The book explains how the fragrant lavender plant is managed and harvested and notes therapeutic and medicinal uses.

With The Mediterranean Cat, which Hooper described as "an appealing book," Silvester offers more photographs of the undomesticated Greek island cats. Asleep in the Sun is Silvester's demonstration of how cats have made an art form of napping. All the photographs are of sleeping cats. One cat can be seen atop a trellis with one leg dangling down. Another naps behind hanging fishing nets. The cats are of all ages, colors, patterns, and body types. Reviewing the volume in the New York Times Book Review, Alida Becker wrote that this book "may be his most attractive yet. Certainly it's his most comfortable." Charles de Lint noted in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction that the photographs "say far more about cats than all the words we might care to write about them."

Kittens in the Sun is a showcase of kittens of the Greek islands, younger versions of the animals in Silvester's previous books. He shows them at play and rest, and going through the awkward stages of their lives as they grow into adult cats.

Silvester believes that love between cats exists, and in his Cats in Love his photographs prove just that. Far from being loners, his cats are photographed playing and sleeping together, as well as mating. A photograph of two cats with their tails draped over each other suggests great affection. In reviewing the volume in the New York Times Book Review, Carolyn T. Hughes noted a "breathtaking series" that shows two cats jumping from one ledge to another. Hughes described Silvester's images as "glorious."



Atlantic Monthly, April, 1994, Phoebe-Lou Adams, review of Cats in the Sun, p. 132; April, 1998, Phoebe-Lou Adams, review of Asleep in the Sun, p. 118.

Booklist, March 15, 1994, Brad Hooper, review of Cats in the Sun, p. 1318; May 15, 1996, George Cohen, review of Lavender: Fragrance of Provence, and Brad Hooper, review of The Mediterranean Cat, p. 1561.

Book Report, September 1, 1991, James Gross, review of Water, p. 63.

Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June, 1998, Charles de Lint, review of Asleep in the Sun, p. 38.

New York Times Book Review, April 19, 1999, Alida Becker, review of Asleep in the Sun; April 25, 2004, Carolyn T. Hughes, review of Cats in Love, p. 20.

People, November 7, 1994, Pam Lambert, review of Cats in the Sun, p. 31; December 15, 1997, Michael Neill, review of Asleep in the Sun, p. 32.

Popular Photography, November, 1991, Peter Kolonia, review of Water, p. 122.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 1991, review of Water, p. 42.