Extraordinary Dog Tales
LiveAuctionTalk.com: by Rosemary McKittrick
Photo courtesy of Bonhams.
Michael Hingson was on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 when the hijacked American Airlines jet slammed into the tower of the 110-story building. His guide dog Roselle was sleeping under his desk.
Michael was the district sales manager for the computer company Quantum ATL. He had been hosting a meeting of field representatives at the time.
He heard a loud bump when the plane hit and felt lots of shaking.
"The building started swaying, and the air was filled with smoke, fire, paper and the smell of kerosene," he said. The plane hit 15 floors above him and even though he couldn’t see Michael knew instinctively something terrible happened.
The first thing he thought about was calling his wife and then making sure everyone in his office got out of the building ok.
His dog Roselle responded immediately and helped him maneuver through the tangled office toward the stairway. Depending on the amount of wreckage on the stairs the dog either led or followed him. Michael figured the next plane hit the second tower when he and Roselle descended to about the 50th floor.
"By the time we reached the bottom, it had become very hard to breathe," he said. "We were both very hot and tired. Roselle was panting and wanted to drink the water that was pooled on the floor."
When they finally reached the ground floor they headed out of the building. He figures they were about two blocks away when Tower 2 collapsed.
"It sounded like a metal and concrete waterfall," he said. "We started running for the subway." Roselle remained focused on the job of leading her master to safety and Michael kept his commands simple.
Roselle guided him to the home of a friend in mid-Manhattan and they stayed there until the trains were running again. When all was said and done, he and the dog were sore but otherwise unharmed.
Dogs have the longest and closest relationship with humans than any domesticated animal. No wonder “man’s best friend” shows up in art throughout the ages. Animals appear in the earliest imagery as the very first subjects of art. And man’s partnership with dogs has been particularly powerful.
“In the beginning, God created man. Finding him weak, he gave him the dog. He charged the dog to see, hear, smell, and run for man,” said French writer Alphonse Toussenel. And the dog also provided friendship.
The 19th century Impressionist paintings often include household pets. Pets were a sign of prosperity and also showed how animals were becoming crucial members of a loving family. Artists like Renoir, Degas, Courbet and Manet enjoyed painting themselves and their friends in the company of their favorite pets.
Pets offer charm and meaning in life and in art. Not much has changed.
On Feb. 15, Bonhams, New York, offered a selection of Dog art in its Dogs in Show & Field sale.
Here are some current values for dog art.
Dogs in Art
Ralph Hedley; English Bull Dog and Cat at Rest in Stable; oil on canvas; signed and dated; 20 inches by 24 inches; $5,250.
Arthur John Elsley; Best of Friends; oil on canvas; signed and dated; 24 inches by 19 7/8 inches; $15,000.
Alexander Pope; Scraping an Acquaintance; oil on canvas; signed and dated; 30 ¼ inches by 45 1/8 inches; $18,750.
Percival Leonard Rosseau; English Setters on Point; oil on canvas; signed; 35 ¾ inches by 51 7/8 inches; $74,500.
William Henry Hamilton Trood; Hounds in a Kennel; oil on canvas; signed and dated; 36 ¼ inches by 28 inches; $212,500.