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Dog Culture: DogPatch
Dorothea Lange
This intrepid photographer documented Depression-era Americans’ pride and spirit
When my father, Rondal Partridge, was 17, he began working for Dorthea Lange, best known for her photograph, Migrant Mother. He worked in Dorothea’s darkroom, packed her camera bags, and drove her up and down the back roads of California. “Slow down, Ron, slow down,” she would insist as they crept along at twenty miles an hour. When they saw something interesting, they stopped: a migrant camp, a...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
The Talk of ’Toon Town
New Yorker cartoons reflect our changing society
If art is a mirror that reflects our world, then the art of the cartoon is a funhouse mirror—a distorted and comic image of ourselves, taking the smallest seed of truth and twisting it into a hilarious meditation. Cartoons speak simply and directly about the ironies and foolishness of the human dilemma. The comic arts are a kind of pop psychology—delving into a collective id, the cultural funny-...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
In Praise of Mutts
Photographer Amanda Jones captures the all-American dog
Mixed-breed. Mongrel. Heinz-57. All-American. Mutt. Would a dog by any other name smile as sweet? You may be surprised to know that the most popular, or, shall I say, most prevalent type of dog is now a mixed-breed. There are more mutts in American homes than any single breed—more than Labs, Golden Retrievers and Yorkies (who rank two, three and four, respectively). That’s saying something. In...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Dog & Pony Show
Carving lifelike carousel dogs shows off artist Tim Racer’s well-honed talents
How does one get to be a carver of carousel animals? Even those youngsters who are deft with crayons and paste rarely grow up to be working artists, let alone celebrated craftsmen in wood, jewels and oil paints. But Tim Racer says that from the age of three, he knew art was his destiny. “I could see that art made people happy,” he says. “Both my parents encouraged my creativity and never...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Dogs in Impressionist Painting
La scène domestique
Just as Impressionist paintings provide visual pleasure, pets brighten one’s emotions. Put the two together, and the result is pure delight. In their brilliant images of modernity and leisure, Impressionist painters often painted dogs. Household animals were a part of middle-class life captured in works whose pictorial riches reveal the comfort and well-being found in prosperity. The 19th century...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
The Art of Tony Fitzpatrick
Fantastic, Mythic, Realistic Dogs
Two visual parallels best explain the drawing collages of Chicago artist and poet Tony Fitzpatrick: Roman Catholic holy cards and baseball cards. In each of these forms—one sacred, the other vernacular (if not profane)—a primary image is surrounded by other images that combine visually to tell the story of the figure in the center. St. Patrick might be set amidst a four-leaf clover, a banished...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Renaissance Art
An artist’s best friend—the dog in Renaissance painting
Dogs are a common visual motif in Western art and have been called the “artist’s best friend” for their role as companion and life model. The close and accurate observation of animals is a hallmark of Renaissance (and Baroque) art in general, and as the most domesticated and favored of species, it is inevitable that dogs in particular would be well represented. Sketching from life was part of the...

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