Evolution of the Wolf: Works from the Collection Featuring Man's Best Friend

Showcasing works that explore the connection humans have with their four-legged companions.

Evolution of the Wolf exhibition

From prehistoric times to the present day, dogs have been represented in art as the human companion. This exhibition looks at the way artists communicate their experiences of dogs.

Originally domesticated from the grey wolf, dogs have lived and worked alongside humans for thousands of years. This exhibition showcases works from the Gallery collection that explore the enduring connection that humans have with their four-legged friends. 

Humans have recorded this blossoming relationship between man and mutt that has been captured across cultures and time. Whether enriching our lives as domestic companions or performing vital roles alongside us as workmates, dogs remain essential to many different lifestyles, so much so that an extraordinary 40% of all Australian households include at least one canine member. 

As we have cultivated our relationships with the species, so too have we recorded it. Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, while artists in Tang Dynasty China captured dogs at play with their owners. 

Our four-legged friends are often the muses for art of all kinds. Of these creatures, dogs are one of the most popular subjects for painting, sculpture, and photography. Throughout art history, they’ve made appearances with members of the aristocracy, self-portraits with famous creatives, and been immortalized as balloons - and that’s just a small fraction of the dog art that exists between the past and today.

Canines are living symbols of protection, loyalty, and unconditional love, so it’s easy to see why they’ve been such a long and colorful part of our visual history.

On view from Saturday 23 October to 5 December 2021.

Image credits:
Gwen Scott Pomona dreaming of her nemesis 2016, (detail), Reduction lino print,42 x 38cm. Purchased 2016.Courtesy of the Artist.
Homepage tile: Robert Moore Bali Dogs 2008, (detail), Etching on paper, 41.5 x 47cm. Purchased 2010. Courtesy of the Artist.
Slider: John Witzig Christmas day, Hay 1970, 1970, Photograph, 67 x 85.5 cm. Gift of the artist 2015. Courtesy of the Artist.


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