About Me

My photo
Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Thursday, January 19, 2017

march 2017 - the eiteljorg museum features dogs

thanks pixabay (not an image in the eiteljorg show, fyi)
The (Indianapolis, IN) Eiteljorg Museum's upcoming show "Dogs: Faithful and True" opens March 4 2017.  The exhibition focuses on the intersection of dogs with Native American cultures and the West, and how that interaction has shaped those societies.  I wish I could go!
Read the press release here.
There is a curatorial discussion of dogs in paintings on May 5, and a day's worth of programming on May 13.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

the human-chicken bond

thanks pixabay
How did the chicken cross the road?
Turns out that's a really good question, and the answer seems to be "By tagging along with their human buddies."  When you think that your basic model of chicken is a creature native to Southeast Asia, and then drive down the street in urban Portland past somebody's front yard with oh so hip coopful of fowl, you have to ask how that happened.
Luckily for all of us chicken fans, there's "Cultural & Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions."  A project including no less than six British universities, scicultchickens.org aims to research and explain what chickens have been to us, and when and how.  There's a database of archaeological chicken bone finds, a blog of various activities in chicken-human research (the latest post at time of writing is an examination of chickens in video games), a gallery with an interpretation of imaginary chicken breeds, and much more.
There's a related, more informal website on the topic too - Chicken Coop.

Monday, January 16, 2017

the lively lines of julie pfirsch

copyright and by kindest permission of the artist
Julie Pfirsch once wanted to be a dog when she grew up.  When I read that on her website, I knew I'd found the real deal:  she decided to be an artist instead, and bring all that excellence of dog soul to her energetic, well crafted and vibrant pet portraits.  (Here's her Instagram too.)  This pittie portrait, above, was the first to catch my eye with its disciplined knowledge of dog anatomy, yet the bright strikes of color give it motion and verve.  A glimpse of her Etsy shop shows more examples.  Most of them are in colored pencil, with a soft and layered feel to the color.  You'll see she also works in acrylics, bolder and brighter, and in oils for a stately and timeless capturing.
I keep looking at the portrait above with such pleasure; I want to throw a ball for him, as he seems so very ready to go.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


courtesy national gallery of art, washington
American primitive art has an honest kindness about it.  Since by definition it isn't produced by classically trained artists, the resulting work may not always be formally accurate as to appearance, but I believe it doesn't lie.  Based on that, I believe the smiles on the faces of the toddler and dog here are the real deal.  This pastel, "Child with Pet Dog" (c. 1825) is from the hand of Micah Williams (American, c. 1782 - 1837).  Williams reinvented himself in adulthood as a traveling portraitist in and around New York and New Jersey.  I've found an article with lots more detail on his story; I think you would find it interesting, so here it is!

Monday, January 09, 2017

sit a spell

photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery (PD)
Here's Edwin Austen Abbey (American, settled in England; 1852-1911), taking a break from his usual images of Shakespearean plays and polished literary illustrations.  Here, in "Woman Holding a Lap Dog" (watercolor, undated) he's clearly enjoying the play of white drapery and dog against the vibrant contrast of rosy beige and (a window?) deep blue.  The dog has something fascinating to see; the tilt of the woman's head has an immediate look to it, as though Abbey caught her looking over in amusement.  A fresh, pleasant piece for this dark wet morning.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

must be a really grey cat

thanks pixabay
More proverbs collected in 1700 (first post here). . .

693.  As grey as grannum's cat.
2020. He signifies no more than a blind cat in a barn.  (Really?  Blind cats can do amazing things - curator)
2396. He, who laugheth too much, hath the nature of a fool; he who laugheth not at all hath the nature of an old cat.
2524.  Honest is the cat when the meat is upon the hook.
2971.  It is lost labour to play a jig to an old cat.
6228.  The liquorish cat / Gets many a pat.  (licquorish: greedy, lustful, hungry.)

Fuller, T. (1817). Gnomologia: adages and proverbs, wise sentences, and witty sayings. New ed. London: T. and J. Allman [etc.].