Bonhams Presents 28th Annual Dog Art Sale

. January 21, 2010

Lovers of dog art will be treated to an extraordinary collecting opportunity as Bonhams New York presents its 28th Dog Art Sale on February 16th. Standing alone as the market leader in the genre, this popular sale has become a must for dog art collectors.

Additionally, Bonhams will again partner with the American Kennel Club, to host its annual charity, doggie brunch– known as “Barkfest”– on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Having quickly become a tradition amongst dog enthusiasts, the event allows dog lovers and their charges to peruse Bonhams’ Madison Avenue galleries while enjoying champagne and hearty fare for both dog and master.

This year’s catalogue is once again exceptional in terms of quality and variety, with many paintings of well known breeds on offer, and featuring some of the best dog and sporting artists of the 19th and early 20th century.

Charles Dickens DogPerhaps the most curious lot of the sale is a 19th century, leather and brass collar belonging to none other than Charles Dickens. Following the $9,150 sale of Dickens’ toothpick at the auction house’s New York book sale this past December, the lot is cause for excitement.

Like many Victorians, Dickens maintained a strong fondness for animals, dogs in particular. In an article printed in the Atlantic shortly after his death his great attachment is described and quoted:
“… when I drove into the stable-yard, Linda (the St. Bernard) was greatly excited, weeping profusely, and throwing herself on her back that she might caress my foot with her great fore-paws. M.’s little dog, too, Mrs. Bouncer, barked in the greatest agitation, on being called down and asked, ‘Who is this?’ tearing round and round me like the dog in the Faust outlines.”‘

With a nameplate inscribed ‘C. Dickens, Esqe,,/Gad’s Hill, Place,/Higham.’ the collar offered carries an estimate of $4,000 – 6,000. It may be difficult to ascertain exactly which dog was the owner of the handsome piece, but given its large size, Mrs. Bouncer, a Pomeranian, is an unlikely candidate.

Work by foremost dog artist, John Emms will draw serious bidder attention. Amongst the six Emms lots to be offered, a painting titled The Bitchpack of the Meath Foxhounds is sure to be one of the most hotly sought after of the sale.

It is rare for an Emms work of this size and presence to appear at auction. Indeed the last picture of similar dimensions and of this quality, was sold by Bonhams in February 2006 when Emms’ The New Forest Hounds achieved the world record price of $842,250.

The present lot was painted two years earlier in 1896, at a time when Emms was at the peak of his career. Carrying all of the hallmarks for which Emms is known, the signed and dated painting is expected to fetch $500,000 – 700,000.

Of great interest to sportsmen will be Gustav Muss-Arnolt’s On Point. Depicting a Pointer and a Setter, on the hunt the beautifully rendered painting carries an estimate of $20,000 – 30,000. Pointers are also the stars of a highly desirable Simon Ludvig Ditlev Simonsen painting. Featuring a regal pointer with her two adorable puppies, the Simonsen lot is estimated at $8,000 – 12,000.

Also highlighting the sale is a lovely painting by Frank Paton. Titled The Gamekeepers Companions the work depicts two dogs as they dutifully await their master. Signed and dated ‘FRANK PATON/1892′, the lot is expected to bring $20,000-30,000.

The sale also boasts a number of excellent lots from well-known women artists. Standing out amongst these is a large collection of sketches by Lucy Dawson. Ranging in estimate from $200-600 and numbering 50 sketches throughout 25 lots, Dawson’s colored chalk sketches consist primarily of Terriers but also include lovely studies of Retrievers and Shepherds as well. Charming and highly collectible, the artist’s works are much sought after at auction making this an excellent collecting opportunity.

Work by Marguerite Kirmse is sure to draw dog art aficionados as well. In particular, an excellent copy of her 1935 book Dogs in the Field will be offered. Comprised of twenty-four lithographed plates and an additional suite of six loose lithographed plates, the signed copy carries an estimate of $800-1,200.

Other works by women artists, certain to spark bidders’ interests are a Maud Earl oil painting of a Curly Coated Retriever (est. $5,000-8,000) and a 1910 painting by Margaret Collyer depicting two sorrowful Bloodhounds (est. $6,000-8,000).

Viewings will begin at the Madison Avenue galleries on February 13th until the day of the sale which takes place on February 16th at 10AM EST. The illustrated auction catalog for the sale is online and available to view at

Barkfest will take place on February 14th from 10-12. Admission to the Charity Brunch is $50 with reservation by phone, or $60 at the door. Proceeds will go to the AKC Humane Fund. To reserve your space, please call the AKC’s RSVP line at 212-696-8277. For more information about the AKC Humane Fund, visit

Category: Auction News

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