Man's best friend has become a common centerpiece, moulded so into works of art and down to the personalized mug. A renowned pastel artist was contracted by a mother daughter duo from Memphis, Tennessee, to depict four of their pooches. Something like a grand portrait painting, it helps them remember their pet family members, especially since the death of two of the dogs. It is not advisable to remark that all the dogs look alike.

Couple photos were taken for the remaining two dogs last year, namely Kelly Rae, a cockapoo puppy, and Miss Manners, a Lhasa apso. While Kelly is curious and friendly, Miss Manners can be standoffish. The outline has just been provided. Doggie art has gone so far as to garner praise from snooty art critics.

The selling price for a quality animal portrait has appreciated four fold, from $2,500 to $10,000, as told to us by a Manhattan gallery owner and expert in 19th century animal art. One of his paintings, of Neptune, a Newfoundland, was auctioned recently for $577,000, his personal record. Then there is also the case of a French painter based on Long Island who collects $250,000 for each portrait.

According to the gallery owner, the revival of Victorian decor caused this trend. The English used animal paintings for advertisement, and they included paintings of stable animals, like horses, pigs, and sheep. Adding a painting of an animal gives a room a homey feel.

Her experience with thousand dollar animal art has not tainted her taste for locally commissioned pet portraits. Pet owners across the nation have jumped onto this trend, which she still considers serious art. Finicky owners cannot get an exact replica of their dogs unless they commission their own paintings, especially since descendant dogs no longer resemble their ancestors. Pet paintings are usually done from photos, which the artist may take himself, and enhanced with the input of the patron. While landscapes are the specialty of one watercolor painter from Germantown, Tennessee, she has also done pet paintings, one of which involved a client who made her redo the painting to adjust for the gleam in his two shaggy dogs' eyes. She had an opposite experience, in which the client was pleased right off the bat after she painted his deceased dachshund in five poses.

Eads, Tennessee, is the hometown of another watercolor painter, who does mostly houses and pets and boasts a 13 year run. There have been seldom cases in which she has had to paint cats, fish, and a frog, and more frequently she does dogs and horses. She can tell if the painting is a success by the reaction written on the client's face, especially when the portrait is of a dead pet. Some patrons are overcome with emotion.

About Author / Additional Info: