The burlesque star's dogs and cats were immortalized in an Old World style

Two years ago, burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese was walking through the Canyon Ranch Resort in Tucson when she saw some portraits hanging on the wall. They were whimsical oil paintings done in an Old World style – of dogs. And she couldn’t stop laughing.

She e-mailed the artist, Carol Lew, and commissioned a series of portraits of her pets, two dogs (dachshunds Ava and Greta) and three cats (Edgar, Herman and Aleister).

“She was fun to work with, and she just loves her animals – that was so clear,” Lew tells “She knew their personalities so well, and had a specific thought about each animal’s personality. It had to be just the right look for them.”

Each cat was painted individually, while the two dogs were done together. (“I think the dogs really like each other,” Lew says.) After a few phone calls, e-mail exchanges and sketches, Von Teese had a legacy for her beloved pets.

On Monday, Von Teese posted a photo on Twitter of the cluster of paintings, which were “finally hung in my Paris apartment!!” and Lew has gotten a big batch of potential clients as a result.

You, too, can have the look with a print from Lew’s gallery, or commission one of your own (paintings start at $400). Or, if that isn’t quite your pet’s style, check out digital artist Valerie Leonard’s work, or these offerings from Etsy: hand-painted oil paintings from Omniportraits, or vintage-looking, sepia-toned digital portraits from HotDigitalDog.

“Pets are members of the family, and this is a really fun thing to do,” Lew says. “People like to think of pets as people sometimes. This is a funny expression of that.”