Monday, July 15, 2019

WOMEN and DOGS and ART at AKC Dog Museum: Review By Polly Guerin

Bea Godsol with Sealyham Terriers
Women and their dogs have been inseparable throughout history and in England Queen Victoria, wealthy and influential women became dog breeders, one of the only sports at that time that women could compete on equal footing with men. Pictured here is Beatrice H. Godsol, the legendary Dog Show Judge who had a great knowledge of dogs and was known for her gracious ring manner. Popularly known as. Bea Godsol, she was painted by J. Dwight Bridge in 1930 with her Sealyham Terriers.
     The AKC Museum of the Dog's exhibition 'WOMEN AND DOGS IN ART IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY makes a strong case, however, for women artists and their portraits of dogs.
       "Beginning in the early 20th Century women artists were starting to become a greater force in the dog art world,"says Alan Fausel, Executive director."I'm delighted to showcase these incredible women and teir amazing talents."
      The exhibition runs through September 29th, 2019 at 101 Park Avenue, New York City a short distance from Grand Central Station.
      Breeders such as the Duchess of Newcastle emerged in America, then, too, Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge was unparalleled in her pursuit of breeding and showing dogs. Queen Victoria may have set the precedent when she began commissioning the world's most renowned dog artists to paint her pets.  Lucy Dawson, a British painter and author of numerous children's books, for one, was commissioned by the Royal family to paint their Corgi Dookie,     
The Queen unwittingly started a trend, and other important dog breeders and fanciers started commissioning works of their dogs. Under these circumstances, female artists broke into the dog world. The exhibition showcases the work of several prolific and influential female artists including over 80 works by he preeminent dog portraitist MAUD EARL. Edward VII's fox terrier Caesar was the subject of paintings on two occasions. The second one, pictured here, depicts
the dog mourning his master's death. 
       There are also nearly 40 works by renowned etcher Marquerite Kirmse. Both Earl and Kirsme were able to become householdnames in the dog world through the dissemination of their work in the thousands through multiples such as prints, bronzes and ceramics. 
      Then, too, Maud Earl's career in particular had recently received a great amount of attention, cementing her status as on of the most talented and inventive dog artists. As for my observation, it seems pretty clear to me
that women dog artists seem to have a greater insight into the personality of the dogs they portray though the eyes of the dog and also their facial expressions that revel such individualistic character studies.
      Sculpture is widely re;resented throughout the dog museum with Kay Finch, a successful artist and ceramist and a top breeder in the United States. Her bronzes were prized possessions. The American sculptor, Laura Gardin Fraser, is also represented and was also the first woman to also design a coin for the U.S. Treasury 
I Hear a Voice" St. Bernard"
Along the way you will also encounter works in the museum's permanent collection by contemporary artists following in the footsteps of these groundbreaking women.

     Pictured left: "I Hear a Voice" by Maud Earl captures the intensity of this magnificent St. Bernard's attention.
    Another treat in store. The AKC Library and Archives presents "Bannister Babies and Pet Pin Ups, featuring vivid color portraits by Constance Bannister, one of the most recognizable American photographers during the post World War II boom years. Bannister's work, including photographic prints, comic strips, and magazine covers including the AKC' own AKC Gazette, capture the cultural moment when Americans began to treat their dogs as full fledged members of the family.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!!  My dear little black poodle went over the Rainbow Bridge years ago and like all dog owners I still mourn but take comfort in viewing this grand exhibit of women artists who
painted and cherished dogs. Fan mail welcome at  
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1 comment:

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