No dog lover’s trip to New York City during Westminster Dog Show week is complete without a quick cab ride to visit the William Secord Gallery on the Upper East Side.
Dog-show aficionados count the days until their trips to NYC each year, even when they are greeted with icy, windy weather. In many ways, the inviting new exhibition at the William Secord Gallery is the perfect tonic to warm the spirit. Titled “The Comforts of Home,” this exhibition is Texas-born portrait artist Pamela Hall’s first solo show in New York.
Known only to private collectors before this exhibition was assembled at the gallery, Pamela Hall’s work shines with something that is truly special in the art world: a familiarity, a warmth, a naturalness that invites the viewer into the dog’s world, or in this case, the dog’s home.
Each model could not appear more content and cozy, and Hall depicts most of the dogs on their favorite plush chair or comfy sofa. Clearly none of Hall’s clients is shooing his pampered pooch off the living room furniture! Who could blame them when their companions are as lovely and sweet as the 25 dogs captured on walls of the Secord Gallery.
Whether you’re a dog lover or an art collector, or both — as are many visitors to the gallery — you will appreciate the artists’s expert handling of interior light and its effects on her subjects. Each dog appears in natural light, which beautifully captures the sitter’s individual character. You really feel like you know these furry fellows, like they’re your best friend’s dog or even your own.
Hall has painted many of our favorite breeds, including the Golden Retriever, Bulldog, Pug and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. For terrier lovers, there are divine depictions of the West Highland White Terrier, Norwich and Norfolk Terriers, and Cairn Terrier. Sporting dog types will enjoy seeing the English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, English Cocker, Pointer, and even the Clumber Spaniel.
The artist has always been a lover of animals, and her interest in drawing and painting animals traces back to her childhood. In the first grade she had her first solo show featuring 10 sketches of horses. When she was 10 years old, she sent her sketches to famous equine illustrator Paul Brown, who subsequently encouraged her to pursue a career as a painter. During high school, she attended the Cleveland Institute of Art on weekends and then completed a Bachelor of Science in art education at Ohio State University.
The influence of the great masters of the 19th century is evident in her work, yet there is still a touch of the present century, something modern and “today” about the paintings.
If you’re in New York City this winter, the exhibition continues through March 27, 2010 at the William Secord Gallery (52 East 76th Street). Can’t visit NYC? Take a virtual tour at www.dogpainting.com.
All 25 paintings on exhibit are for sale, and the artist takes new dog portrait commissions. Your beloved canine pal would appreciate nothing more than being immortalized on canvas by a true modern master … except maybe getting to snooze on that comfy sofa in your living room!
Andrew De Prisco is the editorial director and vice president of Kennel Club Books and BowTie Press.
To read more about Westminster, click here.