It is said to be painted in both the Realist and Impressionist styles, and the loose, textured brushstrokes, typical of Manet's personal painting style, are extremely clear. As with a number of Manet's other paintings, such as Young Bull in a Meadow, this style creates an almost three-dimensional appearance. It also gives a sort of vital force to the animal, making it appear as though it is jumping out of the boundaries of Manet's painting. In the case of Head of a Dog, the dog, which seems to be a whitish-brown terrier of some sort, has even been given a name, Bob. This is written in red paint on the upper right hand side of the painting.
Despite the official name given to this painting, it could just as easily be called 'Portrait of Bob'. As with many standard painted portraits of humans, Bob's face is painted onto a black, rectangular background. His face is full of character, and with his proud, tall posture and winking left eye, it is as though Bob is thoroughly enjoying the experience. Manet gives us the impression that the dog is almost intentionally posing for him. Manet, it seems, wishes to give Bob precedence in the hall of family portraits, and although our painting is unframed, it is easy to imagine it on the wall in a golden picture frame alongside pictures of Bob's human companions.
This fun and friendly dog, which has a certain vitality to its being, perfectly represents the image of man's best friend. Head of a Dog is currently part of a private collection, which seems fitting as Bob is quite the character, almost like a living, four legged, furry family member, and the print we sell is an ideal focal point for any wall. It has an approachable feel that is fitting for most less formal environments. Dog lovers will also appreciate Manet's paintings, A King Charles Spaniel and Tama, the Japanese Dog, among others, although Head of a Dog really humanises this favourite household pet.