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Why do you definitely know someone who owns one of these paintings?  Whether it be an original or a copy, these paintings often accompany a bar in a friend or relative’s basement. So, who was the first to make one?

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge is his name, and making multiple paintings of dogs gambling is his game. With a nickname like Cash it’s no wonder this was his genre of choice.

These paintings were actually a series in which were supposed to be on cigar boxes.  in 1903 he started working for Brown & Bigelow, an advertising company. He turned the cigar boxes into prints, calendar, and posters. And off these dogs went to a home or bar near you.

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Let’s take another look.

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What’s the first thing you notice about this painting? What detail jumps out at you. I’ll tell you what didn’t, the fact that there are two dogs CHEATING.

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I actually burst out laughing when, after investigating these paintings, I learned this fact. I think there’s something so funny and smart about how this isn’t the first thing the audience sees. These two dogs (literally and figuratively) are succeeding at cheating. it’s like Coolidge is letting us in on a little secret by having the two cheaters at the visible side of the table.

Let’s Get The Cards Out On The Table

An original Coolidge painting is worth over $500,000, so if you want an authentic version you better start saving. If you’re not so picky, you can get one here on Amazon for 25 bucks. To be honest, after looking into these paintings I kind of want one of my own. Maybe I’ll paint one myself and use my own dogs as models, although I doubt I can get them to sit for that long.

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But there’s no fun in not trying.

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A Gallery of Coolidge’s work

 

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