David Remfry (born 1942) is best known for his life-sized watercolours of urban scenes and night clubs but has long had a fascination with the relationship that develops between dogs and their owners. He began to explore these relationships about ten years ago by sketching his friends and their dogs, including celebrities such as Alan Cumming, Susan Sarandon and Ethan Hawke as well as other residents at New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel.

Remfry’s evocative large-scale pencil and watercolour portraits capture the mutual understanding of the companionable relationship between owner and pet. The drawings have been created from a series of sittings often undertaken over a number of years in New York and London. The exhibition will feature a group of the best of these drawings and preliminary sketches.

Amongst the sitters are a number of residents of the Chelsea Hotel, as well as other partnerships he has witnessed in New York and London. These include: Alan Cumming and his rescue dog Honey; costume designer Nikki Nichols and Wallis, Duchess of Pugs; hairdresser Geoffrey Firth and his Italian Greyhound Rocco; and sculptor Laura Kaplan and her dachshund Oscar.

The historic Chelsea Hotel was built between1883-1885 and has been the home of an extraordinary number of artists, writers and musicians, including Frida Kahlo, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg and Claes Oldenburg. It was also where the poet Dylan Thomas was staying when he died of pneumonia in 1953 and where Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, was found dead in 1978.

Originally hailing from Worthing, West Sussex, Remfry is now a long-term resident of the Chelsea Hotel. After studying at Hull College of Art, he had his first solo show in London in 1973; more than 50 international solo exhibitions have followed. He was elected a Royal Academician in 2006 and divides his time between New York and London.

The exhibition will be held in the De’Longhi Print Room at Pallant House Gallery and is free to enter.

‘We Think the World of You: People and Dogs Drawn Together’ by David Remfry is published by Royal Academy of Arts, 19 October 2015

Price: £16.95, hardback.


About David Remfry

David Remfry’s artistic career spans more than 30 years. A figurative painter born in Worthing he was educated at Hull College of Art. Remfry has a long-established reputation as a draftsman and watercolorist, having had over 50 solo exhibitions in Europe and America including solo exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art P.S.1, New York Curated by Alanna Heiss, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull. The National Portrait Gallery commissioned a portrait of Sir John Gielgud and also own Remfry's drawing of Jean Muir.

In 2002 Remfry was commissioned by Stella McCartney to do a series of drawings for her first advertising campaign. Remfry was elected a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1987. In 2001 he was awarded the M.B.E. for services to British Art in America by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 2006 he was elected a Member of the Royal Academy of Arts, London and in 2007 he was invited to receive Honorary Doctorate of Arts by the University of Lincoln. In 2010 he was awarded the Hugh Casson Drawing Prize by the Royal Academy of Arts.

About Pallant House Gallery:

Pallant House Gallery is a unique combination of an historic Queen Anne townhouse and contemporary extension, housing one of the best collections of Modern British art in the country, including important works by Auerbach, Blake, Caulfield, Freud, Hodgkin, Nicholson, Paolozzi, Piper and Sutherland. Widely acclaimed for its innovative temporary exhibitions and exemplary Learning and Community Programme, the Gallery has won numerous awards since re–opening in 2006 including the Gulbenkian Prize (now The Art Fund Prize), the largest for arts and cultural organisations in the country.