Dog days for dogs in art?

Editorial Staff Art

Your Future Told by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, United States, 1885. Oil on canvas; 17 1/16 x 14 1/8 inches. Courtesy of Doyle New York.

Doyle New York reported lackluster results for its 11th annual Dogs in Art sale today, which brought in $168,058 with 61% of lots sold. The sale, which also includes sporting art, featured canine inspired collectibles ranging from cast iron garden furniture and figures to finely detailed portrait paintings.  Our pick for “best in show,” was an early Cassius Marcellus Coolidge painting of a gypsy chihuahua which sold for $6,000 (estimate $3-5,000), however the top selling lot was William Harnden Foster’s On Point from 1937, which realized $13,000, missing the mark of its $15,000-20,000 estimate. Poor sales may have been a result of the auction’s late date. It usually takes place in February during the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Bonhams hosted its own dogs in art sale in February that fetched a healthy $810,000.

New Forest Foxhounds by John Emms, England, 1898. Oil on canvas; 41 x 62 inches.

Although a niche area of collecting, dog and sporting art has seen record prices in recent years, most astonishingly with the 2006 sale at Bonhams New York of John Emms’ New Forest Foxhounds (1898) for $843,250, a painting commissioned by Henry Martin Powell of Wilverly Park, Lyndhurst, who was master of foxhounds from 1894-1899. This past February Bonhams sold another Emms depicting hounds and a terrier on a bench for $218,000. In 2007 Doyle’s achieved a record price for a dog painting by Percival Leonard Rosseau: his Two Setters in a Cooling Stream on the Grounds of Overhills, Fayetteville, North Carolina from 1931, was sold for $210,000. Last year, also at Doyle, a painting from the estate of Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, best known for his depictions of card-playing dogs, brought $193,000.