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Image of Dog

Bill Traylor
American, 1853–1949

Dog

about 1940–1942

Object Type: Drawing
Creation Place: North America, American, Alabama
Dimensions:
13 3/4 in. x 12 11/16 in. (34.93 cm x 32.23 cm)
Medium and Support: Watercolor and graphite on cardboard
Accession Number: 1982.0004.0018

Credit Line: Gift of Charles and Eugenia Shannon


A straight edge, pencils, poster paints, and cast-off paper or cardboard constitute the rudiments of Traylor’s art. He began by drawing geometric shapes, and then filled in the outlines with pencil or paints. The cardboard ground usually absorbed the paint, preserving the free-spirited strokes with which it was applied and creating subtle variations in color.

Animals were favorite subjects for Traylor—sometimes farm animals familiar from his days doing agricultural work, but often the animals he saw on Montgomery streets. He depicted many dogs, and they were often shown with open mouths and bared teeth. One can extrapolate that they were barking, or perhaps they were displaying their agression. At times he depicted literal dog fights which mirrored the arguments between people that he also drew. The irregular shape of the cardboard he used for this drawing adds to its interest, as it seems the animal is about to walk out of the composition which has an architectural frame created by the angles of the support.

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