Artists from Picasso to Warhol were inspired by their beloved pets. Animals, with or without human counterparts, intrigue us and engage us emotionally, providing so much for artists to explore and reflect upon.
Simon Sparrow, Untitled [Green snake] , c. 1980s, Mixed media on panel, 22 1/2 in. x 17 3/4 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr.
Chauncey G. Wells, Untitled [Farm animals], 1935, watercolor, graphite and ink on paper, 8 1/4 x 11 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Elizabeth Huber.
Keiko Minami, A Girl, 1961, engraving on paper, 2 1/4 in. x 1 1/2 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Mayuyama & Co., Tokyo.
Pavel Banka, Portrait of J.V. - after Leonardo, 1983 (printed 1989), toned gelatin silver print, 12 1/2 in. x 17 1/4 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Fernando Barnuevo.
Lola Isroff, Cat on a Windowsill, 1950, watercolor and acrylic on paper, 11 1/2 in. x 8 3/4 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Bequest of the artist.
Robert Stivers, Pig, from Series 5, 1996, gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of George Stephanopoulos.
Ellen Lanyon, The Disguise, 1975, colored pencil on paper, 36 x 30 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Bequest of Ellen Lanyon.
Beth van Hoesen, Fred, 1984, etching and drypoint with roulette on paper, 5 3/4 x 4 1/8 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of the E. Mark Adams and Beth van Hoesen Adams Trust.
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Composer Gian Carlo Menotti walking his dog, Mount Kisco, NY, 1960, gelatin silver print, Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Eric Alterman.
Animal As Muse
Chances are, at some point in your life, a pet or animal has inspired your imagination or taught you something about the wonder of the world around you. Animals in art appear throughout history, dutifully serving as background detail, faithful friends and even stepping forward as portrait-worthy subject matter in iconic paintings and many other works. Animal As Muse showcases artwork from the museum’s collection that features artists’ conceptions of animals in many of the roles they play in humans’ lives.
Artwork included in the exhibition ranges from fanciful and surreal conceptions of wildlife, such as Ellen Lanyon’s painting, The Disguise—in which a pair of lunar moths seem to combine to create the countenance of a lion—to realistic depictions of human-animal interactions. Among these is Sandra Weiner’s 1973 photograph, Easter Morning, Ninth Avenue, 1973, which captures a moment of play between a child and a pet dog on a sunny New York sidewalk. Additional work on view will include photographs by Pavel Baňka and Helen Levitt, and a glittering assemblage of beads, costume jewels and found objects by outsider artist Simon Sparrow, who fashioned the items to create a vibrant image of a green snake.
This exhibition is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by a generous gift from The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation. Additional support provided by Brouse McDowell, LPA.