Dachshunds, the consummate muse

Posted by Fiona Cable on

From Hockney to Warhol, this zany four-legged friend has been the companion of many notable artists. Picasso befriended Lump over a long lunch one day becoming firm friends for life, dying within two days of each other. Warhol took his pooch Archie to interviews so he could redirect questions he didn’t want to answer onto the canine. Hockney painted 45 portraits of his two beloved dogs Stanley and Boodgie, mounting an exhibition and publishing a book, “Doggy Days”. Pierre Bonnard, William Copley and other renowned artists also kept the company of the sausage dog.

What this tenacious hound may lack in leg length, makes up for it in personality. Dachshunds are free thinkers. Is it their strong mindset that makes them suited to accompany artists?

Auckland based artists, Mo and Catherine, discovered they harboured a similar penchant for this particular pooch while organising their upcoming exhibition, Smoke and Bones.

Mo says of her pup Tank … “short legs, long bodies, long noses and floppy ears, what's not to love? He's pretty much the perfect companion and goes with me most everywhere I go.  He's a bit spoilt and often goes on hunger strike when he doesn't get the snack or food he wants. He hides under tables when he doesn't want to walk and will never willingly leave the house if it rains.”

Catherine’s two dachshunds, Harriet and Peggy Beans are constant companions. Harriet has her own Instagram account, @harriethairyrat and has over 3,000 followers around the world. They seem to love her cheeky attitude and naughty escapades. She’s a piggy and despite her ridiculously short legs will scale heights to steal food and drink your cup of tea. She’s been known to steal and eat a huge slab of gorgonzola cheese in one go. She has loads of dachshund personality. Catherine explains, “I can see why Picasso was so entranced by Lump when they met. I’m sure it wasn’t a coincidence that Lump first made his presence felt during lunch!”

Harriet has been a catalogue model for Ziera shoes and won a bronze medal in an Oktoberfest Wiener dog race in 2016. Art wise, both Harriet and Peggy Beans have shown unerring good taste when it comes to selecting the most expensive paint brushes and pencils to chew into small pieces. Peggy Beans has a taste for art - literally. She has been known to occasionally find and eat small pieces of work left out to dry, rendering them papier-mâché or making them completely disappear then reinterpreting them as sculptures exhibited on the lawn! 

The dachshund is certainly an authority when it comes to singlemindedness. With their short legs and long, low body they have an ever-alert expression, and bold, vivacious personality. Maybe just some of the traits that are a match for artistic individuals with aesthetic sensitivity, intellectual curiosity, imagination, and innovation striving.

Smoke and Bones opens on 31 January 2019 at Railway Street Gallery in Newmarket. Not featuring any images of dachshunds, but definitely worth a visit.

Smoke and Bones 31 January – 19 February 2019

Opening: Thursday 31 January, 5.30 – 8 pm

Open: Tues – Sat, 10am – 3pm

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