Let sleeping dogs lie - and show off


By David Hockney

Little, Brown & Co.

79 pp., $24.95

Here's a gift that should delight anyone who enjoys dogs or the art of David Hockney. Starting in 1993, the versatile artist began turning his attention and skill to capturing the charms of his beloved pet dachshunds, Stanley and Boodgie.

"In order to draw them," Hockney explains, "I had to leave large sheets of paper all over the house and studio to catch them sitting or sleeping without disturbance.... Everything was made from observation, so speed of execution was important. (They don't stay long in one position and one knock on the door is enough to make them leap up; not very good models.)"

In the resulting paintings and drawings (some 80 in all), the artist brilliantly and poignantly captures the little creatures in the course of their daily doggy lives: with their noses in their dinner bowls, sitting up, standing, sprawled on their backs with their paws in the air, curled up on a cushion for a snooze, or casting quizzical looks at the man who is painting them.

If not exactly good models, these dogs are nonetheless very endearing subjects.

* Merle Rubin regularly reviews books for the Monitor.

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