Man has been in love with the dog since only God knows when. They are constantly referred to as Man’s best friend and from my perspective nothing could be truer. It is no wonder that artist everywhere and through the ages have depicted the loyal canine in paintings, photographs and other media for images of dogs. Here are some personal favorite images of dogs as I have journeyed through my adult life with Dog at my side.
Traditionally there are many examples of Victorian art with images of dogs in many scenes. I am more familiar with contemporary artist and pieces that I have been exposed to.
Norman Rockwell in showing the American life in his paintings could not help but add images of dogs. One of Rockwell’s most famous is “A boy and his Dog” where the painting shows Rockwell himself unveiling a painting of a boy and his dog to the two models all of whom have their backs to the viewer and facing the finished painting. Another is “No Swimming” showing a bunch of boys running away from something or someone after taking a dip in a place where swimming is not allowed. In the middle of the boys is a wet pooch running as hard as the boys. Two inseparable companions that are always up to something are boys and dogs. Rockwell’s illustrations are realistic in both technique and content, normally adding a bit of humor or emotion in some way.
A very famous painting that I have seen in person is Andrew Wyeth’s “Masters Bedroom” that shows a yellow Labrador retriever in an all too common position on the bed curled up asleep. This never happens around our house. I saw the painting as a young man in Greenville, SC at their Museum of Art. They have a wonderful Andrew Wyeth collection and this painting is a wonderful work of art.
About my most favorite of dog artists is Stephen Huneck, a wood carver from Vermont. Huneck’s art work is done as relief wood carvings then prints are made by coloring different parts of the carving and finally rolling the print off on paper. His works show all different types of dogs and cats, mostly dogs, in humorous and loving settings. Stephen purchased a mountain in Vermont where he lives and after a near fatal illness built the Dog Chapel decorated with carvings of dogs of all breeds and is dedicated to “All Breeds, All Creeds, No Dogmas Allowed”. Stephen work is marketed as tee shirts, rugs, hats, giclees and originals. He wrote several children’s books with his black Labrador Sally as the main character. Unfortunately Stephen is no longer with us but his family keeps his artwork alive through his gallery in Vermont. I think that Stephen’s new job might be the Gatekeeper at the Rainbow Bridge where he can be with all those dogs he so obviously loved.
Another of my very favorite contemporary artists that work in dog is William Wegman. Wegman photographs and videos his weimaranersin various artistic and humorous settings. He graduated school with a Masters in painting. While teaching in Southern California he met his muse the late, great Man Ray named after the almost as famous early twentieth century photographer by the same name. Today William has Weimaranersas his models starting with Fay Ray and pups from four generations of her children.
Contemporary artists are nuts about dogs just like the rest of us. There are fine examples of realistic, modern and illustrative styles done by artists everywhere. I bet you have many in your local community. One thing I will never tire of is looking at images of dogs.