Dog Love by Rosemary McKittrick

Photo courtesy of Doyle Galleries.

I’m one of those people who believes a bond between a dog and its owner can go on beyond the grave. After five years I still sometimes half-expect to see my old hound dog Jack waiting for me on the front porch when I come home at the end of the day. I miss his hello.

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had,” said writer Thom Jones.

Since the beginning of history dogs have romped through our lives and though our art either in background portraits sitting beside their master or front and center in hunt scenes. Our connection to these domesticated beasts allows them to tell the story of art through the ages more than any other animal.

Miguel Guzmán died in a hospital in Argentina and was taken to a mortuary far from his home. His dog Capitan disappeared for a few days after his death and was found lying next to Guzman’s grave. The dog had never been to the cemetery before. The first time the funeral director saw Capitán he arrived at the cemetery alone. The dog did a few laps around the tombstones before he found his master's grave — all on his own. The dog continued to visit every single day, at 6:00 p.m., like clockwork until his own death six years later.

Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.”
— Thom Jones, writer

Dogs were found carved on ancient tombs at the feet of their masters watching over them as they departed this world. They were found in the center of age-old brocade tapestries and in the margins of early illuminated manuscripts.

No surprise dogs throughout time have been called not only man’s best friend but also the artist’s best friend. They served as great models and companions.

“Nobody can fully understand the meaning of love unless he’s owned a dog. A dog can show you more honest affection with a flick of his tail than a man can gather through a lifetime of handshakes,” said outdoor writer Gene Hill.

Edmund Henry Osthaus was best known for his watercolors and oils of sporting dogs. He focused on Pointers and Setters working in the field. His paintings were also reproduced as lithographs and calendars.

Osthaus, an astute observer, possessed mastery around recreating the anatomy and spirit of the dogs. He posed them for hours at a time learning their names and unique expressions. He painted from nature and included detailed backgrounds. His palette was often light and the paint loosely applied.

It didn’t hurt he had some of the best dogs in late-19th century America to use as models. He was also an active hunter and field trial judge who immersed himself in the world of sporting dogs.

He painted from life and his dogs often appear like they’re breathing, like you’ve met these dogs before. His love comes through on canvas even today.

On Feb. 13, 2019, Doyle Galleries and Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Inc. featured a Dogs in Art auction.

Here are current values for Dogs in Art.

Dogs in Art

John Emms; A Long Haired Terrier; oil on canvas; signed; 1900; 14 inches by 20 inches; $5,625.

George Wright; (2) Tending to the Cut and Some of the Best; each oil on canvas; signed; 13 inches by 19 1/8 inches; $9,375.

Oliver de Penne; Hounds in the Snow; oil on canvas; signed; 21 5/8 inches by 17 ½ inches; $10,000.

Arthur Wardle; Terriers on the Scent; oil on canvas; signed; 36 inches by 28 inches; $10,625.

Edmund Henry Osthaus; The First Lesson, a Setter and Her Six Pups; oil on canvas; signed; 30 inches by 44 inches; $62,500.

Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller.  For 26 years she has brought the world of collecting to life in her column.  Her website is a mother lode of information about art, antiques and collectibles.  Rosemary received her education in the trenches working as a professional appraiser.

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