If you are in the Philadelphia area, and a fan of dogs, and/or art, you are in luck. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has a current exhibit titled “Nick Cave: Rescue”. It features several of his sculptures, all with a ceramic dog in a chair, surrounded by a nestlike aggregation of beads, metal flowers, etc. Their effect is that of a lost canine sheltered in a magical wilderness den.
The exhibit takes off from there, with many works by various artists. intent on looking more closely at the relationship between dogs and humans, and its depiction in works of art. Other artists represented include Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, and Horace Pippin, to name a few.
This human/animal bond is a subject I often write about. I have discussed the emotional benefits of having pets in your life. I loved reading, recently, about the pets that inspired several musicians to write some of their best work. Paul McCartney wrote the song “Martha My Dear” about his English Sheepdog. Freddie Mercury was a cat lover, and wrote the song “Delilah” after his kitty of the same name. Elton John credits his Cocker Spaniel Arthur for the “woof bells” recorded on one of his records. The list goes on and on. So, it stands to reason that many sculptors and painters have been inspired to create artwork with animals.
David Hockney immortalized his dogs Stanley and Boodgie in his book “Dog Days”.
Jeff Koons, made this 42 foot high sculpture, “Puppy”, with live flowers, soil, geotextile fabric and stainless steel. It can be found outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, should you want to go see it in person.
Andrew Wyeth’s “Dog on Bed” is more recognizable. I think I had two roommates with that poster in their room.
My favorite may be Norman Rockwell’s depiction of my idea of pure joy. “Pride of Parenthood” is indeed, timeless.
Mainly, this artwork brings a smile to my face. Photos and art can sometimes be a reminder of a happy time or place.
That is exactly what this photo of my dog does for me. It is her, on the way to the beach, riding in our van with the window down and her ears happily blowing in the breeze. I also painted it, because I loved it so much. It won’t end up in any museum, but it sits in my office, where I can see it when I need a reminder of a perfect summer’s day.
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