William Wegman is an artist best known for creating series of compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses. Wegman reportedly originally intended to pursue a career as a painter. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Massachusetts College of Art in 1965 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967.
While teaching at California State University, Long Beach, he acquired the first and most famous of the dogs he photographed, a Weimaraner he named Man Ray (after the artist and photographer). Man Ray later became so popular that the Village Voice named him “Man of the Year” in 1982. He named a subsequent dog Fay Ray (a play on the name of actress Fay Wray).
On January 29, 1992, Wegman appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and showed a video clip of Dog Duet, a short which he made in 1975 featuring Man Ray and another dog slowly and mysteriously peering around. Wegman explained that he had created the video by moving a tennis ball around, off-camera, thus capturing the dogs’ attention. The same year, he did 3 network ID’s for Nickelodeon starring the dogs on pedestals.
William Wegman was artist-in-residence at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in spring 2007 where his work featured on campus in the Addison Gallery of American Art.
Wegman has also been an artist in residence at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts where his Circus series was created with the College’s 20×24 inch Polaroid camera. He received the College’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987.
Wegman appeared on The Colbert Report in 2010.
Wegman is the author of numerous books for children, including the New York Times bestseller ‘Puppies.’ His latest children’s book, ‘Flo & Wendell,’ is published with Dial Books for Young Readers.