Women and Dogs in Art in the 20th Century
We’ve been wanting to visit the AKC Museum of the Dog in New York City since it opened in February, so we were thrilled to get a press invitation to a new exhibition “Women and Dogs in Art in the 20th c.” (now though Sept. 29th.)
There are three floors of exhibits in the beautiful modern space two blocks from Grand Central. On the first floor, there is an interactive exhibit that takes your photo and then matches you with a dog – I was thrilled to be a Sussex Spaniel. Other interactive exhibits include learning about different breeds and training their “virtual dog” Molly. But the real showstoppers are the beautiful art of dogs— oil paintings, sketches, and also sculptures of dogs.
The Women and Dogs exhibit is fascinating. It all started with Queen Victoria and continued into the 20th century as women became a great force in the dog world, especially breeding dogs. And it was Queen Victoria who started the trend of commissioning works of dogs. There were several prominent women dog painters and the exhibit features several of them. The collection includes over 80 works by the preeminent dog portraitist Maud Earl, and nearly 40 works on paper by the renowned etcher Marguerite Kirmse.
I was especially taken by this painting, “Silent Sorrow”, done by Maud Earl of King Edward VII’s dog Caesar mourning his master after his death. Watch this video to learn more.
The Photographs of Constance Bannister
Another fascinating exhibit in the museum’s library, features the photographs of babies and dogs by Constance Bannister. During the 1950s and 1960s she was the most famous baby photographer in the world and her photos featuring babies often with dogs, were featured everywhere – TV, film, magazines, baby food and ads. As America’s relationship with their dogs changed, and dogs became “humans” Constance captured many of these moments on film. Constance Bannister was a true entrepreneur who saw a market opportunity and pursued it to the hilt, in a decade when many women did not pursue careers outside of the home.
The AKC Museum of the Dog is located a 101 Park Avenue, NYC. Learn more here.