A dog sits in a kitchen and smells unseen fresh bread. He patiently waits for this delicious treat.
For the past couple of hours here at Panera, I’ve been looking up at the painting, appreciating how the yellow in the painting matches the yellow Panera wall. It’s almost as though the painting is a mini mural.
Curious about the artist behind the dog painting in Panera, I took a photo of the painting and did a reverse Google Image search.
The only result on Google is a blog post about a day trip by a mother and her young daughter. The mother and daughter interpret the painting, “The dog did, indeed, get the bread–without breaking a dish—and without getting caught.” The internet is a great place to discover stories like this while sitting in the same booth.
The identity of the artist remains a mystery. [Update: the artist is found. See the update at the bottom of this blog post]. I like the Hopper-esque qualities of the painting with its simplicity of the scene, single character, flash washes of monochromatic color, and delicate shadows. The dog himself almost appears as a shadow and a formal element in the painting. His nose pointing upwards aligns with the right edge of the painting. The desired bread is unseen to the dog but seen by the viewer, giving the viewer an inside scoop on the story.
If anyone knows who the artist is, please let me know. This painting is a print on canvas, so it seems like something that many other Panera restaurants might also have hanging.
If you’d like to do a Google image search for this painting, feel free to search on this image:
Update nine years later
The artist for this painting is Bryan Sears. He found this blog post and commented that he is the artist. Bryan commented, “My Name is Bryan Sears — I painted this in 2006(?) as a series of paintings for Panera. The original was sold years ago, it was about 24×36.”
Check out his paintings at bryansears.com. You’ll see that he is indeed the artist, because his style matches the one in the painting. His site features a couple of his paintings for Panera.
“Spread Dog in Kitchen” is the painting of the dog in this blog post. And “Spread Bread 2” with levitating bread over a sink. (He doesn’t list the titles for each painting, so these are the filenames of the JPG files on his site).
The work experience on his site states that he graduated with a BFA in Design and Illustration in 2005 from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. This would mean he did these paintings for Panera the year after graduating.