In the Company of Animals: Art, Literature, and Music

Omnis mundi creatura
Quasi liber et pictura
Nobis est et speculum.

Every creature of the world
Is like a book and a picture
To us and a mirror.


-Alan of Lille (Twelfth Century)

The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote that "animals are good to think with." This exhibition examines the ways in which the artists, writers, and composers represented in the Morgan's collection used animals to think and create. What does the portrayal of animals in images, words, and music reveal about companionship, meaning, and morality? About science, beauty, and truth?

Multimedia: Animal Companions and the Creative Life


From Flush, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's cocker spaniel, to Boodgie and Stanley, David Hockney's dachshunds, animals have served as beloved companions to countless artists and authors. With these relationships in mind, we visited three artists in their workspaces, writer Emma Straub, photographer William Wegman, and composer Michael Hearst, and invited them to reflect on the bond between artists and animals: Are animals worthwhile subjects? What roles do companion animals play in a life devoted to the imagination? What do our relationships with animals reveal about ourselves?

Image Caption: 

David Hockney, b. 1937
Boodgie and Stanley, 1993
Black wax crayon
Thaw Collection

In the Company of Animals is organized by Clara Drummond, Assistant Curator at The Morgan Library & Museum.

This exhibition is supported by a generous gift from Tina Santi Flaherty, in honor of her faithful companions Jackie, a white Labrador retriever, and Scarlett, a King Charles spaniel.

Additional assistance is provided by the Janine Luke and Melvin R. Seiden Fund for Exhibitions and Publications, and by Jeannette and Jonathan P. Rosen.