William Wegman, ‘Study’, 2016, Pink Palais

William Wegman's photos are best known as series of compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses.

William Wegman is an American artist best known for his portraits of his Weimaraner dogs. Born on December 2, 1943 in Holyoke, MA, Wegman graduated with a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston in 1965, and received an MFA in painting from the University of Illinois two years later. He began working with his dog, Man Ray, named after the famed Surrealist artist, in the 1970s by positioning the dog within in various humorous props and costumes. Wegman began to use a Polaroid 20 x 24 camera with Fay Ray—Man Ray’s successor—in 1986. Her litter would then feature heavily into Wegman’s staged photography and films throughout the 1990s. A widely popular and well-known artist, his videos and photos have appeared in a variety of films, advertisements, books, and television programs such as Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live. His numerous retrospectives and exhibitions notably include “Wegman’s World” at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1981 and “Funney/Strange” at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2006. The artist currently lives and works between New York and Maine.

About William Wegman

Though originally trained in painting, William Wegman is known for his photographic images featuring dogs—primarily his own Weimaraners—in various costumes and poses, and with an array of props. Wegman embarked on a 12-year collaboration with his first dog, Man Ray, who appeared in numerous photographs and videos. In 1986 Wegman acquired a new dog, Fay Ray, beginning a second collaboration in which the artist began using a 20-by-24-inch Polaroid; Wegman’s cast would grow after Fay Ray gave birth to a litter. In Entabled (1988), a Weimaraner is depicted perched demurely on its back atop an antique wooden table, while in Evergreen (2003), Wegman captures his dog’s profile against a stark black background and with a sprig of upside-down foliage balanced on its head. He has also produced artist books in which his dogs feature as the lead characters, as in his much-loved dog version of Cinderella.

American, b. 1943, Holyoke, Massachusetts