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Art Curatorial

From the Collection—Duyckinck’s Jacomina Winkler (and her crabby dog!)

Attributed to Gerardus Duyckinck I (American, 1695–1746), Portrait of Jacomina Winkler, ca. 1735. Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Purchase L1994.2. Photo by John R. Glembin.
Attributed to Gerardus Duyckinck I (American, 1695–1746), Portrait of Jacomina Winkler, ca. 1735. Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Purchase L1994.2. Photo by John R. Glembin.

Summer traditionally ends with dog days. You know those hot, listless, airless spans in August that have people dreaming of thunderstorms and cold fronts.

But why not begin summer with a thought about dogs?

This is not hard for me, as my life is ruled by two dogs (below you’ll find a picture of one of them, my alpha Westie, Alice).  Thus, this blog post combines two of my favorite things—portraiture and dogs—to take a closer look at a work of art in the Museum’s permanent collection.

Around 1735, the New York artist Gerardus Duyckinck I painted the portrait of young Jacomina Winkler, who was probably ten or twelve.  Jacomina’s father had been a merchant in the Dutch East Indies and had settled in Colonial New York, a place with long-standing ancestral Dutch colonial ties.

There is a lot to love in this portrait, from young Jacomina’s sweet expression to the hard-edged, linear quality of Duyckinck’s contour lines.  The folds in the red mantle (coat) that Miss Winkler wears are stiffer than beaten meringue peaks.

But what I love the best, of course, is the dog in her lap.  This is not just any old dog, but a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel…and a very unhappy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, at that.  You just know that this dog is the kind who’s going to snap at you if you try to pet it.