In the post-WWII era through the 1970s, despite advances in social justice for various groups of people, the social status of animals remained very low. Any positive depiction of animals were usually heroic, beyond what most (if any) animals could ever be, and that heroism was always in service to humans. Such heroes include Lassie, Benji, Rin Tin Tin, Flipper, and even Mr. Ed (whose down-to-earth sagacity was the point of the show).
What is marvelous to see in the collection of older paintings below, is that these European and US artists (many of whom often depicted animals in their work) reveal a sensitivity and kindness between humans and other species in everyday life. Here are a few paintings which show that a casual, often loving relationship with other animals is nothing new, but as old as time. although these bonds are between young people and animals they cared for, especially when regarded as part of the family. Check back as we will be expanding these galleries in the future.
Paintings are presented in chronological order. Click on an image for more information.
updated March 24, 2023