William Wegman fell in love with his first pup Man Ray early in his career and the two began a collaboration that lasted throughout Man Ray’s life and gained Wegman notoriety as a photographer. The dog was a central figure in Wegman’s photographs, known for his deadpan stare.
Artist and illustrator Michael Sowa features animals in his works constantly. The German artist is best known for his whimsical surreal paintings in which animals are the main subjects, replacing or competing with human forms. His animals can be found conducting human business such as ice skating or Laptop Sheep.
Frida Kahlo loved animals and had many pets, she considered them a replacement for the children she was not able to have after a serious bus accident crushed her spine and lower body. She made 143 paintings, 55 of them are self-portraits portraying physical and psychological wounds and featuring her beloved animals.
Among her pets she had hairless Mexican Itzcuintli dogs- her favorite named Mr. Xoloti, one of which she features in this work. Itzcuintli dogs are very rare and were highly prized by the Aztecs, which may explain their appeal to Kahlo, who was very proud of her MesoAmerican heritage.
Famous for his intense paintings depicting interior psychological states like The Scream, Edvard Munch himself struggled with anxiety and depression. Munch’s sister and mother died when he was a boy and in 1908 Munch suffered a severe mental breakdown. In his later years Edvard Munch withdrew from society, living alone without a servant or a housekeeper.
Only his several dogs kept him company while he devoted his time to painting. Munch was even known to take his dogs to the movies with him as his trusted critics. If his dog barked he left the show.
Lucian Freud often used dogs in his portraits painting them lying alongside his human subjects. Freud’s own Whippets, Pluto and Pluto’s great, great-niece, Eli, even appear as the main subjects of some paintings.
The artist explained his love of working with dogs like this: “I am impressed by their lack of arrogance, their ready eagerness, their animal pragmatism.” He strove to have his
human subjects look as relaxed and natural as his animal ones.