Beloved Australian artist Ken Done is well known for his candy-coloured Sydney vistas—bold, lively paintings of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and colourful sailboats scattered across the water. However, there’s a side to Done’s output that’s more personal, pensive, and affectionate. Days spent at home with his wife, Judy, or taking a stroll with their dog, Spot, are scenes that Done repeatedly turned his brush towards. Pieces such as Madonna and dog (2000), Spotty and I walking around the rocks (1992), and a series of four dog portraits completed in 2016 were highlighted in a recent exhibition called The Popular Pet Show at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra.
In her essay, curator Dr Sarah Engledow praises Done’s portrait series fondly, saying, “Only a kind man could paint such endearing mutts. In the great tradition of Done’s work, they express good things about Australia.” You can check out Done’s dogs and many of the exhibition’s other paintings compiled in The Popular Pet Book by Dr Engledow.
All artwork by Ken Done
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