Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Collecting Dog Books: Art and Artists

Ever wander through a museum or gallery, and no matter what the subject displayed for your edification and delight -- from the gods on Olympus to Napoleon at Waterloo to a contemporary domestic scene -- what you react to first, what you search for, perhaps unconsciously but quite correctly, is the dog? Samuel Johnson may have said it best: "I would rather see the portrait of a dog...than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world."

Books on the dog in art bring home those museum visits, ample evidence of Johnson's wisdom, and no end of beauty and interest and surprise. There are books on the history of dogs in art and on notable collections, illustrated auction catalogs devoted to dog-related art, compendia of drawings, paintings, objets d'art, and photography, too. Postcards, collected individually or as published in book form, and greeting cards old and new, are other possibilities.

Your goal may be to gather the most evocative (or whimsical or realistic), or just the most, images of the breed closest to your heart, or as many books in which an artist you admire is represented. Which artist has best captured your favorite breed? If you haven't yet decided who that is, you have one of many reasons to focus on dog art and artists.

You might look for books devoted to the work of, or with illustrations by, such notables as Cecil Aldin, Lucy Dawson, Morgan Dennis, Maud Earl, Marguerite Kirmse, G. L. Stampa, Vernon Stokes, or Diana Thorne. Of more recent vintage are the dog works of David Hockney, Keith Haring, Stephen Huneck, Maira Kalman, Rien Poortvliet, and George Rodrigue, to name but a few.

You can, of course, collect by quirk. If a book's front cover features a dachshund, or any shape suggestive of a dachshund, I want it, whether it's a dime novel with one fleeting allusion to my breed or the latest screed on string theory.

Every dog is a work of art in waiting. If you don't paint or draw or sculpt, you've got reason to learn; needlepoint is another of many creative options. Collecting craft books can point you to the hobby that's right for you or perfect your current skills. Commissioning a portrait of a beloved dog makes a wonderful gift and a future heirloom.

For information and sheer pleasure, browse The William Secord Gallery and Dog Art Today.

1 comment:

  1. i love the book it very funny and also mind blowing it's to good to put down. If you wanna buy this book visit http://thedogbooks.com.