Otto Eerelman (1839-1926) is generally considered one of the best Dutch animal painters of the nineteenth century. Born in Groningen to a family of six children, at the age of fifteen the young Otto Eerelman enrols in the Groningen Drawing Academy and quickly develops into a promising artist. Initially, Otto Eerelman is commissioned primarily for historical paintings and portraits, but later he gravitates towards painting dogs, horses, still lifes with flowers, and circus scenes.
After spending time in Antwerp and Brussels, Otto Eerelman eventually settles in The Hague, where he is readily assimilated into the artistic scene there and has no trouble finding commissions and prominent buyers. His animal paintings prove to be in great demand, and he gradually comes to work virtually exclusively in this area. His favoured subjects are dogs and horses. Otto Eerelman paints his first dog painting around 1872, but it is another ten years before he exhibits his first dog portrait. In the annals of the art of painting in the Netherlands, Otto Eerelman is the first artist to elevate this particular specialization to a high level.
Otto Eerelman had no natural inclination to produce innovative art, but was an inspired craftsman who grew to become the unrivalled master of the animal genre.