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In the Dog House: 'The American Dog at Home'

Monday, October 25, 2010

Unless the person behind the shutter is Richard Avedon or Annie Leibowitz, it is hard to get too excited by the celebrity portrait. Our People magazine culture has turned intimacy into a commodity. But something amazing happens when the camera shifts a bit, and gives pride of place to the family dogs. Then, you get something like "The American Dog at Home: The Dog Portraits of Christine Merrill."

This handsome volume, created by gallery owner William Secord, is something of a hybrid. In the act of celebrating Merrill's portraits, which have the elegant wholesomeness of traditional 18th and 19th century pet portraits, Secord has created a series of photo essays that place Merrill's subjects in the context of their homes and their humans. It's an approach that balances the opulence of the dogs' surroundings—most are children of privilege—with an unmaterial dignity and glimpse of those wordless relationships that have bound our two species together for centuries.

Christine Merrill in her studio with Rudy
Photo: William Secord
Christine Merrill in her studio with Rudy
Topper Boo Rearsby (also known as Page) with Ch Banbury Bedrock Barchetta
Photo: William Secord
Topper Boo Rearsby (also known as Page) with Ch Banbury Bedrock Barchetta
Phoebe and Abigail Markin go kayaking
Photo: William Secord
Phoebe and Abigail Markin go kayaking
Christine Merrill, <em>Pekingese with Dogwood</em> (1996)
Photo: William Secord
Christine Merrill, Pekingese with Dogwood (1996)
Christine Merrill, <em>Rocky</em> (2008)
Photo: William Secord
Christine Merrill, Rocky (2008)
Christine Merrill, <em>Sir Lancelot and Maximillan</em> (1988)
Photo: William Secord
Christine Merrill, Sir Lancelot and Maximillan (1988)
Christine Merrill, <em>Papillon with Still Life</em> (1990)
Photo: William Secord
Christine Merrill, Papillon with Still Life (1990)
Iris Groot, a Chinese Crested, with Gustav
Photo: William Secord
Iris Groot, a Chinese Crested, with Gustav
Earl Kopf, a border terrier, is allowed on the furniture
Photo: William Secord
Earl Kopf, a border terrier, is allowed on the furniture
Christine Merrill, <em>Morgan, Stanley, Winnifred and Ramses,</em> (2003)
Photo: William Secord
Christine Merrill, Morgan, Stanley, Winnifred and Ramses, (2003)

Produced by:

Sarah Montague

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Comments [2]

Beverly Davis from New Bedford, Ma.

Hi Christine, I love your work, you are an inspiration. I do art work myself, but I have only succeeded at failing to succeed. beverlydavisfineart.com I'll get back to you or the William Secord Gallery and buy, rather invest in one of your paintings as soon as I am able.....Best Regards, Beverly Davis

Feb. 03 2012 03:03 PM
S Molock

Taxis should be able to carry four people not just three
We go out in a group of four

Nov. 17 2010 11:40 AM

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