Cats and Dogs in Art and Life

Sep 28, 2012

Cats and dogs and people have been together for a long time. As workers, companions, and friends, cats and dogs provide and inspire intense loyalties among humans. Dogs have played many roles—hunters, watchdogs, status symbols, companions—even multiple roles at the same time. Cats seem to be more (or less!) complicated. As hunters, they catch mice in the barn but also kill chicks in the henhouse. As companions, they purr in one’s lap but then may disappear into the alley for the night.                          

The newest exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society, “Cats & Dogs in Art and Life,” explores the changing roles of cats and dogs throughout history, depicted and remembered by Connecticut artists, photographers, writers, and even merchandisers. How have artists used images of cats and dogs? When do people view animals as workers or pets, helpers or companions, or all of these together? Why do we love cats and dogs? Portrait and landscape paintings, drawings, needlework, sculptures, decorative household items, and photographs—all from the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society and never before seen together—illustrate the practical and emotional bonds between dogs, cats, and people and how those connections have changed or endured over time.

Your cat or dog can be a part of this exhibit, too, which runs from now until April 6, 2013. For a small donation to support the exhibit, you can submit a photo of your cat or dog to be displayed in the Cats & Dogs Portrait Gallery, featuring photographs of beloved animals from the 1800s to today. Visit www.chs.org/exhibitsto learn more. And be sure to visit this tribute to the enduring emotional bond between people and their animal companions—a shared experience “back then” and now.