Arts Everyday Living: The Art of the Dog Week–Renoir’s Portrait of the Ultimate Lap Dog


Title: Head of a Dog, 1870

Artist: Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)


How can anyone resist such a face? Engaging us lovingly with those gentle eyes, accustomed to the tenderest of care. Not just a random pat, but the need to be constantly held, preferably on a lady’s lap. For French Impressionist Auguste Renoir, the connoisseur of women, surely must have known a willing female companion ready to protect such a tiny and vulnerable dog. Wearing a miniature bell, just in case, he (or she) gets lost.

Both Head of a Dog and Fleche, the Artist’s Dog by Toulouse-Lautrec (see: our blog on Tuesday, August 22, 2023) were once owned by Captain Edward H. Molyneux (1891-1974), a successful fashion designer during the first half of the 20th century. He also earned a British Military Cross in combat during World War I. Then in 1955, Ailsa Mellon Bruce bought them along with the rest of Molyneux’s outstanding 69 work collection by artists ranging from Renoir to Morisot to Bonnard. Now at the National Gallery of Art, a 1970 generous bequest of Ailsa Mellon Bruce.





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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