Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Celebrating Chris Duke and the Art of Westminster

2012 Westminster Kennel Club Show Poster

Every year, the Westminster Kennel Club has the exceeding good judgment to commission original art for a poster commemorating the annual event. The project has the side effect of showcasing some wonderful examples of canine art that might not otherwise get such wide exposure to the general public.

This year's choice of Connecticut artist, Chris Duke, just took our breath away here at the View from 4 Inch. We dabble in dog artwork ourselves and truly appreciate examples that seem to bring across the true spirit of man's most faithful companion on the canvas.

 Head study of Hickory.

Above is the artwork that, according to the artist website, won over the selection committee's nod for the creation of the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club poster. It's a masterfully rendered portrait of a 2011 Westminster Best in Show winner, Hickory. The lines of the Scottish Deerhound's noble profile bring to life the classic calm/alert expression and far away gaze so characteristic of the sighthound. Getting the coat "right" is one of the big challenges in painting dogs, and this one makes the look of wave and wire almost touchable.

Love in a brushstroke.

No breed snob here. Duke creates artful pet portraiture for dogs of any lineage. A gallery of portraits, full figure renderings and pet/owner paintings are on view here. Complex montage paintings, similar to the Westminster poster art and the Daisy Dew portrait above may be commissioned as well. Prices are available here.

In today's world, people who love and show dogs face many challenges in gaining the respect and honor the sport deserves. Outsiders too often focus on the goofy, indulgent side and miss the dedication, the hard work and the beauty.

Each February, the Westminster Kennel Club presents a high profile event that provides a fitting display for the nation's finest dogs, breeders, owners and handlers. The decision to present some of the canine art world's finest talent in the annual poster is an important part of that objective. Thanks to the Westminster Kennel Club for keeping the bar high.


JOhn Gerbi said...

Thank you! We have had a fair amount coverage of Chris since Westminster broke, and this is one of the best-written pieces I've seen. Yes, I enjoyed the effusive praise (I blush for her), but I also enjoyed reading clear, insightful prose for a change! You have a gift.

And thank you again,

John Gerbi

Chris Duke's husband/manager/soulmate
Chris Duke Art

ViewFr4Inch said...

Thanks John! It's been a pleasure getting to know Chris and her work. Fine art applied in support of an apt and worthy cause is always a reason to celebrate!