The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is one of the most famous museums in the world and it’s there that you’ll find Gary Tinterow and an unexpected, yet wholly understandable, connection with greyhounds and art.
The ‘Met’ as it’s colloquially known houses some of the world’s finest artistic works and was established in 1870 with the noble purpose of celebrating, developing and encouraging a devotion to art – according to its mission statement.
Gary Tinterow – now director of the Museum for Fine Arts in Houston – was the head of the department that takes care of nineteenth century modern and contemporary art at the Met. On the Museum’s website, a short yet detailed piece entitled ‘Connections | Greyhounds’ was recently published. The piece provides some fascinating insights into the greyhound breed that confirm beliefs held by friends of greyhounds world-wide.
Tinterow is a greyhound enthusiast himself, having owned three former races. He speaks passionately about greyhounds and the way in which they appear in art and how their elegance, grace and longevity have influenced art, society and the breed itself.
“I’m sure the reason I love greyhounds is because I associate them with the art that I love,” is how he describes his affinity throughout the piece.
New York itself is well-known for being a cosmopolitan city, a place that defines cultural trends throughout the western world. It appears that greyhounds are considered to be somewhat of a fashion accessory in one of the world’s most recognisable places as well.
“I remember the first time I walked my first adopted greyhound, Elliot, down Fifth Avenue. A woman stopped me and said ‘what a beautiful dog, so thin, so elegant'”
It’s something that people within greyhound racing and also those that have adopted greyhounds can appreciate. The athletic elegance of a greyhound is something unique to the breed and unparalleled in other dogs.
One insight that clearly separates greyhounds from other breeds of dog, is through their continual presence in art for a significant period of time.
“Greyhounds are the only species of dog that appears unchanged in Western art from nearly 5000 years ago making them clearly one of the oldest breeds of dogs, and they are certainly the best,” Tinterow explains.
The piece is something a little different yet it is fascinating to see that the history of the greyhound breed delivered with such detail. There are a number of relics featured throughout the presentation with significant detail given about their place in history.