The Dog Sale – The Art of Man’s Love for His Best Friend at Bonhams New York February 12th

International fine arts auctioneers Bonhams is proud to present its 26th annual offering of dog paintings, works of art and related ephemera on Tuesday, February 12, 2008, featuring more than 250 lots of dog-related art, to be offered at 10AM in the Bonhams New York saleroom.

“This year’s auction features paintings by many of the most sought-after artists who’ve specialized in depicting the dog in art,” said Fine Arts Dept. Director Alan Fausel. “Whether it was as a sporting companion, domestic pet or mischievous family member, many popular breeds are featured, the artworks expected to interest collectors worldwide.”

1octerez.jpgAmong the highlights is a beautiful composition in oil by James Hardy, Jnr (1832-1889) depicting three gundogs waiting by the game bag at the end of a day’s shooting. Entitled The First of October, this large canvas is signed and dated and expected to bring more than $60,000. Two additional works by the artist are watercolors.

Continuing the artist’s penchant for hunting scenes with dogs, each composition includes game as spoils after a successful hunt.

Sporting art has always proved popular within the genre and the 2008 auction also includes several examples of the much-appreciated work of John Emms (1843-1912). Apart from a delightful group of head studies of terriers by Emms – with oils estimated at $2/3,000 and $10/15,000 — is a stunning kennel interior showing a pack of foxhounds on a straw-covered bench, with a hunt terrier in their midst. This painting stems from a Scottish private collection and is estimated to fetch $60/80,000.

Also offered are five works by Arthur Wardle (1864-1949), the most charming of which, A Winter Fireside, romantically depicts a group of spaniels reclining in front of a roaring fire. Specialists expect strong collector interest, the oil’s estimate of $10/15,000 may well be eclipsed on the day.

Depictions of rare breeds also appear on the block this year. Capt. R.A.V. Hamilton’s portrait of the Champion Kerry Blue ‘Blue Sensation’ should find a new home, and collectors should be pleased to see pictures of varied breeds including Pointers, Labrador Retrievers, Pinschers, Poodles, St. Bernards, Setters and others.

Within the decorative works of art section, Bonhams is delighted to offer selected pieces from the Jennifer Berry Collection, a truly exceptional array of dog pictures and related objets d’art amassed over 50 years of collecting. On offer will be nearly 20 lots of early photography, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes — considered highly desirable to both photography collectors as well as dog art lovers. Removed from the Berry’s secluded property in Brentwood, CA, the collection includes porcelains, including an eight-piece set of Limoges gilded-edged game plates, each hand-painted (est. $2/3,000). A group of eight Wedgwood plates feature depictions of hunting dogs centered with a game bird at each top border (est. $1,500/2,500).

The sale also boasts an impressive, encyclopedic collection of nearly 100 dog collars, one of the largest seen at auction and rivaling the famed collection within Leeds Castle. Included are examples of German 16th century spiked iron collars – worn to protect the throat of working dogs, which were prone to attack by wolves while guarding flock or while hunting. One such collar is estimated at $3/5,000. A notable group of five leather collars, some with inscribed nametags, graced the necks of pugs belonging to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (est. $2/3,000).

A Georgian adjustable brass collar on offer had been inscribed with the name of Mr. Robert Shore of Snitterton, Derbyshire, England in 1769 (est. $1,200/1,800). Collectors may vie for a lavishly engraved Victorian leather and silver collar which had once belonged to a dog called ‘Corsellis.’ Designed in the baroque taste, the collar could bring as much as $7,000.

Historians may take interest in a late 19th century three-foot-long leather slip, designed to release two greyhounds simultaneously, whereas collectors of militaria may be interested to see a pair of American World War II leather message carrying collars. These were designed to be worn by military dogs trained to covertly transfer communications across distances, their encoded messages secured within the collar.

“All in all,” according to Bonhams London Specialist Charles O’Brien, “there should be something for the tastes and pockets of most collectors of canine art. We’re very much looking forward to this, our 26th auction.”

The February 12 sale will open for preview at Bonhams in New York City on Saturday February 9-11. The illustrated catalogue will be online for review and purchase in the weeks preceding the sale at www.bonhams.com/us.

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