Arts Everyday Living: Escaping Social Distancing—The Artful World of Animals





Art Circle returns with the always popular theme of animals in art: whether domestic pets (our best friends and companions) or the diverse species of the wildlife realm.  Among the featured artists are Brit Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873); American Winslow Homer (1836-1910); Austrian Carl Kahler (1856-1906); French painter Theodore Gericault (1791-1824); German Hans Hoffmann (1530-1591/92); Dutch icon Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890); Japanese masters Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800) and Kansetsu Hashimoto (1883-1945); as well as French Impressionist Edgar Degas (1834-1917).



Edwin Henry Landseer, Dignity and Impudence, 1839, oil on canvas, Tate, London, UK

You think those dogs will not be in heaven!  I tell you they will be there before any of us.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

Obviously the chain is not connected to these lovely pets.  Maybe the symbolism is referring to US pet lovers!  The light illuminates the dog’s faces. Is the “title” also the name of the dogs.  They look like great pals and great pets.  The artist has captured their characters…”Ready for adventures, mistress.”  The Robert Louis Stevenson quotation is correct about dogs in heaven!  Anyway if they don’t get into heaven, I won’t either!

Daena Kluegel

I liked the titles of the Landseer–it certainly wasn’t hard to determine which dog was Dignity and which was Inpudence!

Kay Oshel



Winslow Homer, Deer Drinking, 1892, watercolor, Yale University Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Until one has loved an animal, part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

Anatole France (1844-1924)

A delicate deer is drinking from the watering hole.  Look at the dappled colors, reflections and shadows.  But…how ever does the deer get astride that log to drink?

Daena Kluegel



Carl Kahler, My Wife’s Lovers, 1893, oil on canvas, Private Collection

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life—music and cats.

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)

The delightful painting with the sarcastic but funny title makes me smile. It’s a marvelous rendition of multiple felines engaged in their CATTY pastimes.  Is that a butterfly they are watching?  Oh my!  Methinks for the number of cats the artist must believe he is low on the priority list.  However, he does capture all those cats and painted the drapery so skillfully.  I wonder how long it took him to complete this work!  The quotation….drum roll please for Albert.  Great affection for cats and love of MUSIC.  Yes!

Daena Kluegel

I liked the title of the Kahler. I know artists famous for painting horses, dogs, or birds, but I think Kahler is the first I’ve heard of who is famous for cats. I was interested to read that he died in the 1906 earthquake and fire.  I see that his huge and very heavy painting features 42 cats and had been reproduced in various websites.

Kay Oshel



Gericault: Head of a White Horse

Theodore Gericault, Head of a White Horse, 1815, oil on canvas, Louvre Museum, Paris, France

The horse is an archetypal symbol which will always find ways to stir up deep and moving ancestral memories in every human being.

Paul Mellon (1907-1999)

I am so impressed by the artist’s craft in this painting.  This is a close-up of a very beautiful and strong animal.  The artist painted the light to help define the horse’s handsome features…strong and noble animal!  Loved the Paul Mellon quotation.

Daena Kluegel

I liked the Gericault horse very much.  It feels like you are standing in front of a stall, looking at an animal with a strong, individual personality. It’s interesting how the white mane picks up the red of the background on the right. It’s so appropriate to have a Mellon quote since he loved horses and owned so many horse paintings.

Kay Oshel



Hans Hoffmann, A Hare in the Forest, c. 1585, oil on panel, J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California

Rabbits are like human beings in many ways….It is rather a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an intuitive feeling that Life is Now.  A foraging wild creature, intent above all upon survival, is as strong as the grass.

Richard Adams (1920-2016)

This bunny is placidly enjoying his dinner deep in the woods.  The artist lights up the rabbit’s habitat of plants, insects, lizards, etc.  It make the viewer feel peaceful and wish to join the hare in the forest.  The Richard Adams quotation seems so relevant to the present.  Life is NOW.

Daena Kluegel

I also like the Hoffmann rabbit.  It reminded me of a Durer rabbit, but Hoffmann has so much fascinating detail of forest plants and insects and the rabbit.

Kay Oshel



Vincent van Gogh, Two Crabs, 1889, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, London, UK

A crustacean with a broad carapace, stalked eyes, and 5 pairs of legs, the first pair modified as pincers.  Crabs are abundant on many shores, especially in the tropics, where some have become adapted to life on land.

Oxford Languages

There’s the Green, Green, Green water surrounding the two crabs.  These creatures are depicted by Van Gogh as lonely (and lovely) inhabitants of the water.  I think he finds some affinity with them.  The quotation is apt.

Daena Kluegel



Ito Jakuchu, Old Pine Tree and Peacock, 1759-1761, color on silk, Museum of the Imperial Collections, Tokyo, Japan

I shall always remember how the peacocks’ tails shimmered when the moon rose above the tall trees…

Herman Hesse (1877-1962)

I love the strong diagonal of the peacock and the lovely tail spread out in a haughty display and then the spotlight on the pine and flowers which balance the bird.  The bird is perched on one foot and gracefully “calling” (I am NOT a fan of their cries which always sound like a fit of mayhem to me) but what gorgeous colors are there.  The Herman Hesse quotation is beautiful and descriptive.

Daena Kluegel

You know I love Japanese artists so I was taken with Jakuchu peacock which sent me searching for whether white peacocks exist.  It turns out they are a genetic variant of the Indian blue peacock and are sometimes mistakenly called albinos.  However, as far as I could find, they are totally white and don’t have the gold and green markings he painted. But the white and green composition with the tops of the red flowers is so arresting.

Kay Osehl



Kansetsu Hashimoto, Old Monkey with Cherry in Autumn, 1938, color on silk, Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan

Monkeys are superior to men in this: when a monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey.

Malcolm de Chazal (1902-1981)

Do all old monkeys look wise or cunning?  Or, is this monkey particularly wise and cunning?  He seems to be observing and contemplating what action to take.  I love the strong diagonal and that the lovely animal holds firmly to the branch for balance.  Seems a very natural pose.  Wow!  Great quote is very fitting.

Daena Kluegel

The Hashimoto is also gorgeous in a much softer way and the details are just amazing.

Daena Kluegel



Edgar Degas, At the Stable, Horse and Dog, c. 1861, oil on canvas, Private Collection

A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

These are beautiful animals and they are paired as friends.  I love the skill shown in these forms.  But there’s an emotional connection between both dog and horse.  I sense the artist loved them.  I enjoy the warm light and rich colors of hay and stables.  The Hubbard quotation—Amen to that!

Daena Kluegel





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