When a Connecticut animal shelter struggled to find a home for Van Gogh the one-eared rescue dog, they knew just what to do: break out the canvas and paint.
The seven-year-old, 70lb boxer mix saved from a dog-fighting ring has now been adopted following a highly successful online auction of his “masterpieces”, created by Van Gogh licking peanut butter and liverwurst from a plastic bag and smearing the paint on the canvas below.
The Happily Furever After rescue center of Bethel, having crafted an artistic new way of attracting publicity, is planning another exhibition next month to try to find homes for its remaining gallery of animals.
“It’s a beautiful thing because [people] are not only supporting the rescue, but they are supporting the dog,” Jaclyn Gartner, founder of the organization and art show curator, told Fox News digital.
“For him, [painting] is enrichment and a treat. He enjoys doing it.”
Gartner said there was little interest in Van Gogh after he arrived last summer from a shelter in North Carolina. A suspected bait dog for a fighting ring, he was found abandoned, injured and bleeding in a drainage pipe, leading to the amputation of his left ear.
His first in-person “art show” at the shelter was poorly attended, leading Gartner to place his paintings for sale online. Assisted by a viral TikTok video that attracted 300,000 views, Van Gogh’s artwork sold out immediately, and he even picked up some private commissions.
After seven months with a foster family, Van Gogh also earned an adoption application from his new owner, Jessica Starowitz, who had promised to allow him to continue painting his post-impressionist pieces.
Like his 19th-century Dutch namesake, one of the world’s most famous artists who created about 900 oil paintings in his lifetime, including Sunflowers and The Starry Night, the canine Van Gogh is prolific, Gartner said. He has recently completed his 140th work.
Starowitz told Fox that Van Gogh had experienced a lot of trauma, and was currently “working on his manners” and learning to be more comfortable around other dogs.
Gartner also said that unlike the real Van Gogh, whose recognition came only after his death in 1890, the dog gets to enjoy the fruits of his labors. “He is properly compensated for his work in toys and treats,” she said in the video.