America has fallen in love with the dog, and who better than Christine Merrill, America's premier pet portraitist, to chronicle this long-term relationship? As best-selling author Barbara Taylor Bradford exclaims of Christine's portrait of her dog Gemmy: "It is perfect in every detail. Only Christine Merrill can capture a pet so astonishingly..."
While grounded in the traditions of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England, this Baltimore artist has over the past twenty years created a body of work that depicts the American dog in its own especially American environment. Over a period of twelve months, author William Secord traveled from coast to coast to visit thirty-three of Christine Merrill's clients, interviewing them and photographing them and their dogs. Each of the resulting thirty-three essays in this book features an American dog owner who has commissioned Christine Merrill to capture their dog in oils. Each answers the "Who? What? Where? and Why?" of the collector's story, and how they came to seek out Merrill to portray their dogs - members of the family whose portraits often supplant the portraits of their human relatives. A biographical essay on Christine Merrill as well as a visual overview of the artist's paintings complete the book.
Merrill's paintings are timeless testaments to our love for the dog. She counts movie stars, authors, socialites and captains of industry among her clients, each with one thing in common: their love for their pets. This book opens a door onto these worlds. Over thirty different dog breeds are represented, from fifteen different states with a total of 333 color illustraions.