Monday, January 11, 2010

Vermont dog artist Stephen Huneck passes away at 60: dog lovers mourn.

A great light was extinguished with the passing of dog folk artist Stephen Huneck of Saint Johnsbury, Vermont. After suffering losses from the downturn in the economy, Huneck was forced to lay off most of the employees of his Dog Mountain farm and chapel - a destination for dog lovers, built from the proceeds of his artwork.





Described as despondent, Huneck felt responsible for the welfare of his employees and was fearful about losing the property his artwork had paid for. He died in his car of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while parked outside the office of his psychiatrist on Thursday. Huneck's artwork is featured in New York's Museum of American Folk Art and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.





Find his work if you are not familiar with it. It's whimsical and will put a smile on your face. Stephen was kind enough to autograph a copy of his book for us when our Dalmatian passed away many years ago, and we treasure it. We have been big fans for over a decade, and the love this man had for dogs pours out of his pieces. He will be sorely missed by many.

Photobucket

37 comments:

  1. i was heart broken when i heard. Not so much because i was familiar with him before his death (i wasn't actually) but when i read his story, and his dog-passions... sigh. so sad. oddly, i knew his art, just not his name.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a very sad thing.We are sorry for the loss and for the tragedy such a dreadful death is. We send our sympathy to his people and pooches.
    X-BabyRD and Hootie

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a tragic loss to both the dog world and the art world.

    P.S. - Answering your question, we live at about 4500' elevation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. He was so talented and touched so many people's lives! It truly is tragic. What a sad event!

    ReplyDelete
  5. The world was made better for his having lived. We mourn his passing, but will be ever grateful for the sharing of his gifts.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How sad. What an amazing place he created.

    I have something that might cheer you up. Our neighbours adopted Sada from the GH rescue yesterday. They fell in love with Graham and decided they needed a hound of their very own. We haven't met her face to muzzle yet, but can't wait!

    xoxo
    SB

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gee...not to take anything away from this good man...but can you imagine how bad the psychiatrist is feeling right now? Like, holy crap, I failed!!!!

    Killed himself right outside the shrink's office? Really? That's incredibly bad for both and all.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very sad... He will be missed.

    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is so sad. Thanks for posting it, in memoriam of him and his wonderful life's work, NB.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A tragic loss for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So sad! Thank you for honoring him with this post.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous11:07 AM

    What a huge loss, for humanity and for the animal world. How sad that a person can become so void of hope that they end their life.
    My heart breaks for his family, skin and fur alike. May God bless his soul.
    the western SC gang

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mom was khwite sad when she saw the story in our lokhal paper...

    What a pawesome way to honour him...

    Sadly, yet another vikhtim of the stoopid ekhonomy...

    Hugz&Khysses,
    Khyra

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am familiar with his art but never knew anything about the artist. Very sad to be so gifted and yet so despondent that he felt life was not worth living.Thanks for sharing this man's passion behind his gift.

    Chester's Mom

    ReplyDelete
  15. what a loss. very sad

    ReplyDelete
  16. So very sad. I am unfamiliar with him and feel like I've really missed out. I will have to go check out all his work now. Sounds like someone who will be very missed.

    Anyone who loves dogs is a friend of mine. RIP.

    ReplyDelete
  17. We tweeted the news when we first read it. Such a sad ending to a useful life.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Very sad... I had heard this tragic news this weekend from another blogger - such a talent and caring soul.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I felt sucker punched when I read this over the weekend. I remember a feature Country Living magazine did over 10 years ago on his wood carving. It captured me more than most and I still have the article. What a terrible loss to the dog art world, and his family, too of course.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Theresa, Lucky and Ben4:04 PM

    Oh no, so very, very sad.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous4:12 PM

    I discovered his art decades ago and was so charmed by it. What a sad ending to a stellar living of his life.

    LPWH

    ReplyDelete
  22. So very sad! We need more business owners such as Stephan who actually CARES about more than money! RIP sweet soul the world is a poorer place without you!

    ReplyDelete
  23. How very sad - such a tragic loss.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous4:53 PM

    I never heard of him before this but he must have been a tortured soul to commit suicide.
    He must have been a wonderful, sensitive person.
    The fact that he loved animals so much tells volumes about the man. Very sad.....

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh! I had not heard. How very sad. I have a few thing around the house with his images. My favorite is a pillow that says SIT! I always wanted to visit the chapel. We hope he finds peace over the Rainbow Bridge with all the animals he loved.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What a tragic story. It makes me very sad. The animal world has lost yet another Angel. Peace.

    I agree with Khyra about our economy.

    Suka

    ReplyDelete
  27. Very sad to hear this. Makes me wish someone was there before that horrible moment to remind him of all the joy - the smiles and good feelings he brought to so many people who loved his work.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sad..our thoughts go out to the family
    Benny & Lily

    ReplyDelete
  29. Typing this comment with a tear forming. I have the book Dog Chapel and it has been my wish to visit the real chapel. I am wondering if it will still be there. What a sad story.

    ReplyDelete
  30. A very, very, tragic time for the friends and family of Mr. Huneck, that can serve to illustrate the tremendous healing power of making art, friends, and enjoying participation in the family of dog. It is an understatement to say that Mr. Huneck's work has touched the lives of many; offering solace and comfort during times of deep pain and loss; and supporting shared happiness with our canine and feline friends. He also offered, and through his art work continues to offer, whimsy, humour, joy, and skilled artistic expression to the everyday lives of those of us who choose to share our lives with dogs and cats. I can only guess at the significance that making his art had on his day to day life. The physical evidence is profound affecting.

    Mr. Huneck's premature death also might serve to illustrate how frequently and tragically inadequate the medical community is in so many, many, ways when it comes to addressing the emotional health issues that an ever increasing number of people are facing in this time, and of those of us who fall through the cracks in just this one area alone of the severely underfunded health care system. This is not a new problem in underfunding, but one that has been ongoing for several decades in both the United States and Canada.

    The world has suffered a great loss in the death of Mr. Huneck, but is blessed with a body of art work that will allow those of us who did not have the chance to meet him to get to know him through this work. We can only be enriched and uplifted by the experience of his art and saddened by our loss.

    ReplyDelete
  31. The news about Steven Huneck, is very sad.
    We did not know of him, but many were blessed by who he was.
    He must have felt so helpless and no hope- what a sad place to travel through in ones mind.
    And then at just the moment something snaps and his life is extinguished.
    It is a big loss for the animal world and artists and all who knew him- and of course the empty void the family now feels.
    We light candles in his honor
    love
    tweedles

    ReplyDelete
  32. So sorry to hear of his loss. I've always wanted to visit Dog Chapel.

    Woofs and Kisses!

    ReplyDelete
  33. OMG, how horrible. I had no idea, had not heard in the news. I found his artwork years ago and have always been a big fan. My heart goes out to his family and dog lovers everywhere who have followed him.

    ReplyDelete
  34. OMD how sad! *tears*
    Thanks for sharing.
    Ariel and human Granny <3

    ReplyDelete