Stanley and Boodgie


“From September 1993, I painted and drew my dogs. This took a certain amount of planning, since dogs are generally not interested in Art (I say generally only because I have now come across a singing dog). Food and love dominate their lives.”

“I make no apologies for the apparent subject matter. These two dear little creatures are my friends. They are intelligent, loving, comical, and often bored. They watch me work; I notice the warm shapes they make together, their sadness and their delights. And, being Hollywood dogs, they somehow seem to know that a picture is being made.”

David Hockney

 
 

David Hockney’s Dog Days, published by Thames & Hudson (2006)

 
 

David Hockney and his pet dachshunds Stanley and Boodgie photographed in front of some of the artist’s many artworks based on the dogs, c. 1994

 
 

Hockney and his muses at BMW Car Art, 1995

 
 

Sketches made in 1993

 
 

His subjects, Stanley and Boodgie, accompanied for over 10 years. They’re all getting on a bit. The dogs are about 70 in human years. Hockney is 60. He bought them both when they were puppies. ‘My neighbour has got a little dachshund and I fell in love with it. He said, “You’re very good with dogs, why don’t you have one?” But I used to travel so much. Then I thought, “I don’t really want to travel any more so if I get a dog it will stop me.” ‘

Stanley cost $300. Boodgie, who arrived a year or so later, was slightly pricier. ‘When the stock market crashed,’ Hockney recalls, ‘people said, “Did you ever make any investments?” I said, “Yes. I made an investment in the dogs. Now they’re worth a million dollars.” ‘

As a young man Hockney much admired Stanley Spencer, to the extent of imitating him by wearing a bowler hat and pushing a pram containing paints, but in fact, the dog is named after Stan Laurel. Boodgie is Boodgie because he looked like one. ‘When I got little Boodge he was very small,’ says Hockney. ‘I put a bell round him so I knew where he was.’

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