William Secord is the president of William Secord Gallery, Inc. in New York City. The gallery specializes in fine nineteenth and twentieth century dog and animal paintings.
With a background in art history and arts administration (B.A. with Honors in Art History, Carleton University; M.A. Arts Administration, New York University), Secord worked at the Museum of American Folk Art before embarking on his career in dog and animal art. In 1981 he became the first director of The Dog Museum of America in New York City, where he mounted an extensive series of thematic exhibitions. When the Museum relocated to St. Louis in 1986, Secord started his own art business and in 1990 opened a commercial gallery at 52 East 76th Street in Manhattan.
The author of many articles on the subject of the dog in art, Secord also wrote Dog Painting, 1840-1940, A Social History of the Dog in Art. With 350 pages and some 450 illustrations, the foreword was written by the late Mrs. Vincent Astor. First published in August of 1992 it is now in its sixth printing.
In 1996 Secord curated a major exhibition of dog paintings for Brain Trust, Inc., with loans from many private collections as well as The Victoria and Albert Museum and The National Portrait Gallery in London. The exhibition traveled to museums in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, Japan.
Secord is the author of Dog Painting, The European Breeds, his second book for The Antique Collectors' Club, published in 2000. His third book on nineteenth century dog painting, A Breed Apart; Selections from The Collections of The American Kennel Club and The American Kennel Club Museum of The Dog, was published in 2001. Secord co-authored Best in Show, The Dog in Art from the Renaissance to the Present, a catalogue published by Yale University Press, 2006. With 456 pages and 525 color illustrations, Dog Painting, a History of the Dog in Art, was first published in 2009, and it was quickly followed by a second edition. His latest book, The American Dog at Home, The Dog Portraits of Christine Merrill was published by ACC Editions in 2010, and is currently in its second printing.
An acknowledged expert in the field, Secord has lectured extensively on dog painting, recently giving the annual Paul Mellon lecture on Sporting Art for the Friends of British Sporting Art in London. He has lectured at The Dog Museum, St. Louis; The Kennel Club, London; Sotheby’s, New York; the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach; The Sporting Art Library and Museum in Middleburg, VA, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. He is active in many dog and animal-related charities, having been on the national Board of Directors of The ASPCA from 1997 to 2008. He is a member of The Kennel Club, London, The Morris and Essex Kennel Club in New Jersey, on the Board of Directors of the Friends of British Sporting Art and a Life Member of The British Sporting Art Trust.