Dog Talk signed 'J M Tracy' (lower left) oil on canvas 24 x 36 in. (61 x 91.4 cm.)
John Martin Tracy is one of America's premier painters of dogs in the 19th century. Born in Ohio to abolitionist parents, he went on to study at Oberlin College and Northwestern University before serving in the Civil War. After the war he went to study in Paris in 1867,1868 and 1873. There he counted among his friends and colleagues John Singer Sargent, James Carroll Beckwith and George Inness and exhibited at the Paris Salon. When he returned from France, he settled in St Louis in 1878, later moving to Greenwich, CT and eventually Ocean Springs, MS.
While he was known to have painted battle scenes, portraits and landscapes, he is best remembered for his depiction of dogs, particularly those of the sporting variety. In addition to being an accomplished painter Tracy was a show and field trial judge which no doubt contributed to his understanding of dogs not only in confirmation, but in performance as well.
Dog Talk represents three gentlemen pausing during a day's hunt to rest in the woods to smoke their cigars. They are accompanied by three pointers and the conversation is turning to dogs. It is possibly a scene of the South as Tracy did spend some time there painting local dog owners and field trials. Also, it is very close in composition, palette and tone to a work of the same size titled Lunch in the Field which was sold in these salerooms May 22, 2007.
See Freeman Lloyd, "The Dog Pictures of Tracy: Great American Artist Stopped Doing Battle Scenes to Place Animals on Canvas," The American Kennel Gazette, vol. 53, no. 5, May 1, 1936, pp. 7-11; 156-157. and F. Turner Reuter Jr. Animal & Sporting Artists in America, Middleburg, VA. 2008 p. 712-714
This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.
ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.
If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.
Buyers' Premium and Charges
For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:
Buyer's Premium Rates 25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price 20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price 12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.
For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.