About Me

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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 !

Sunday, July 27, 2014

two spoons with character

the metropolitan museum of art : gift of helen miller gould, 1910
www.metmuseum.org










Two cosmetic spoons, a tubby mouse and a relaxed dog, were fashioned of bone by a skillful hand in Egypt around 1150-1295 BC. These are tiny things: the dog spoon is only 3 13/16 inches long and a quarter inch thick, yet full of presence.  I marvel at how the linear and formula-driven art of Egypt frequently created such personable works. Once upon a time these little fellows held colored pastes for eyeliners or lip colors.  What fun it would be to have compacts that looked like these!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"sprinkle happiness" - and go see this dog photographer

Only a quick post today, but you'll find it worthy - if you go over to Jessica Trinh's website.  Jessica takes photos of her two dogs, mostly (there's a couple more in the mix).  They might be bathing, blowing bubbles, musing in the grass, standing in a rain of paper hearts.  These are happy, magical, incredibly self-assured shots (here's a quick Flickr hit of them if you don't believe me).  And she's just 17.  Imagine where she'll go from here - meanwhile, you go right now to the links, and smile.

Friday, July 25, 2014

the cats that smile on your behalf

image copyright and by kindest permission of the artist


































New Hampshire artist Vivienne Strauss has a Philosophy background. In her artist's statement her work is described as "often migrating around the humor of being human – shared dejection, things left unsaid, false arrogance, disbelief, inspired irony."  This is her Cat Ladies, in which the women all seem pretty stylish and aware, but there's not one smile among them.  The cheer is all left to the cats, one for each lady, and of course my first thought is:  Are their cats second-best significant others?  Or do the cats simply have the freedom to show cheer and contentment, which you just won't do if you've a facade to keep up?  I'd also like to note that these jolly cats remind me of Andy Warhol's - now there was a guy who collected facades, yet still appreciated a happy cat.
Meanwhile, you should go see more of Vivienne's work at her Etsy shop and Facebook.  Vivienne doesn't know me, but I feel like she's painted me a time or two.  Maybe she's painted you too?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

a dog, some music

thanks wikimedia. (PD:90)
Among the sheltering trees, with their boughs swelling and fading like a song, a woman plays a harp.  A dog noses up to see what makes this sound, and behind him two other creatures approach, eyes big with curiosity.  It may not truly have happened, but for the sake of August Macke (German, 1887-1914) I hope it did.  Macke drew this scene in crayon in 1913.  The next year he was killed at the front in WWI, aged 27.  Not a very long time to be alive, but he was already a major German Expressionist and one of the leaders of the Blue Rider group. The Blue Rider artists sought to create images that were more conduits to emotion and spiritual truth than strict reproductions of the visual.  Granted, emotions are in the heart of the beholder, but I see a wish for peace here, and trust personified in the curious dog.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

hoo-hoo cat 1920

google advanced booksearch (believed PD in good faith)


From  The Lumber Manufacturer and Dealer, Volume 66, July 19 1920 p. 57.  Poor scrappy cat!  He should renew his membership in the International Order of Hoo-Hoo, a fraternal society for those involved in the lumber industry.  Though more sedate now, this organization began in a jolly, freewheeling vein.  You'll enjoy reading about it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

togetherness: a captain and his dog

thanks wikimedia commons (PD:US)
What an affectionate dog.  He must have been attracted by the sound of the flute his master was playing.  This is the portrait of Captain Stevens, painted circa 1795 by the British artist Francis Wheatley (1747-1801).  Wheatley's bio on Wikipedia is brief, but packs a punch or two: huge debts, elopement to Ireland with another man's wife, eventual marriage to one of his models (whom after his death became Mrs. Alexander Pope, and thereby wife to one of the greatest British poets).  Of this wistful captain and his fluffy friend, we know no more; only that Wheatley painted him in an academic but romantic manner, restrained, yet still with an aura of yearning.

Monday, July 21, 2014

byron appreciates a watchdog

. . . ’T is sweet to hear the watch-dog’s honest bark
  Bay deep-mouth’d welcome as we draw near home;
’T is sweet to know there is an eye will mark
  Our coming, and look brighter when we come.

George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan. Canto i. Stanza 123.  Found on Bartleby.com .

Sunday, July 20, 2014

1870 lolcats: harry pointer

thanks wikimedia commons (PD)
In the city of Brighton, England, during the 1870s, a jolly-looking photographer named Harry Pointer (1822-89) has been taking successful portrait and kitty photos.  Nothing special, but he does well enough for himself.  Then he realizes that cats are extra funny when they pose, say, on a little bicycle, or on rollerskates (see above); and then he tries out a caption or two.  People love them.  His cat snaps become a series of "The Brighton Cats."  And you may see a bunch of them here.  (Don't use the biographical link on that page - go here.)

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