Portraits of Dogs review – pass the pooper-scooper, this one’s a stinker
Woofers and tweeter … Hector, Nero and Dash with the Parrot, Lory, 1838, by Edwin Landseer. Photograph: Royal Collection Trust
This show of canine portraiture is so trite and desperate to please, it ends up insulting animals and audience alike
The Wallace Collection’s lavish, even epic survey of canine portraiture down the ages is the kind of exhibition I thought galleries had grown out of: a sickly cocktail of brittle snobbery, fey “fun” and naked desperation to please. At least, to please dog lovers, who really do appear to be the target audience. “Why not pamper your pooch with a gift from our shop?” suggests the website. Why not? Because I’ve never owned a dog and anyway they’re not allowed in our flats.
Obviously, the dog in art is a valid subject, even if it lacks the pedigree of the cat, which goes back to ancient Egypt. The problem is that Portraits of Dogs frames the image of the dog in a silly, facetious way, like some pretentious pet food commercial.