Arts Everyday Living: Art of the Dog Week–Toulouse-Lautrec, A Life Long Love of Dogs

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, The Artist’s Dog Flèche, c. 1881, oil on wood, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Title: The Artist’s Dog, Fleche

Artist: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)

Although best known for his unforgettable portrayals of the performers of the Moulin Rouge, French master Toulouse-Lautrec also created a number of animal portraits throughout his dynamic yet brief career. Demonstrating through his works, a deep affinity for dogs and horses, beginning when only a teenager. For Flèche seen above was created while the 17 year old artist still lived on the large estate of his father, the Comte de Toulouse-Lautrec, who was an avid sportsman and hunter. A role that his son Henri could never assume because of the physical condition that already prevented him from walking normally.

Around this time, Toulouse-Lautrec also depicted at least two other canine friends: Dun, a stately setter and Margot, a petite terrier. What pedigree is Flèche (meaning arrow in English)? Is he a spaniel, or perhaps a hound? Yet, whatever his pedigree, Flèche makes the ideal model, posing perfectly for his young owner, even oblivious  of what might normally be the distraction of a nearby hen.




In the public domain, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the National Gallery of Art participated in any projects utilizing the said image.

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