Every day my Chrome browser displays a different work of art. The Chrome extension Google Arts & Culture powers the selection of what art is shown from their collection.
The artwork ranges from very well-known artists like Van Gogh and Monet to lesser-known artists. It seems most of the art is from lesser-known artists—which I appreciate being able to see art outside of the standard popular art canon.
Today my browser greeted me with an adorable painting of a dog and cat. The artist is really pushing the adorable factor in this painting. Look, they are sitting on a tufted cushion. Awwww!
Title: Good Friends (Puppy and Kitten)
Creator: John Henry Dolph (American, 1835-1903)
Date Created: 4th quarter 19th century
It’s quite a surprise to see this cute painting of a puppy and kitten. This isn’t exactly the typical subject matter for the typical art museum. But why not?Because this sort of subject matter is too light-hearted? Perhaps it makes the museum seem less serious.
However, Museums are all about engaging the visitor. People love puppies and kittens! Perhaps museums could dive into the puppy & kitten motif and draw up a sophisticated historical narrative about puppy & kitten paintings.
It looks like the Walters Art Museum of Baltimore, Maryland is giving this subject matter a chance—at least with a single painting in their collection.
The text Walters has for this painting:
Dolph lived primarily in New York City, he trained with the animal painter Van Kuyck in Antwerp and in Paris from ca. 1868-73. He exhibited at the National Academy of Design and the Paris Salon among other places. He was best known as a painter of cats and dogs, and was referred to as “the American Landseer.” He exhibited genre scenes and Hudson River landscapes until 1874 but in 1875 his painting of a Persian cat attracted such great attention that cats and dogs became his focus.
Unfortunately, this painting is not currently on view in the museum. But it is on view for the 265,379 users of the Google Arts & Culture extension.
I almost hit the “refresh” button to bring up another work of art. But since I wrote a blog post about this painting, it might as well stay up for the day.