The story behind Dogs Playing Poker painting

Gambling has a long history in our world and it continues to this day, though in different ways than, say, 100 years ago. Today people prefer to gamble online with codes such as Fun88 สำหรับแหล่ง or they like to play poker with friends. This is nothing unusual and we see it quite often. But have you ever seen dogs playing poker? I have. Alright, not in real life, but in paintings. Hey, it counts!

The “Dogs Playing Poker” is a famous series of paintings by C.M. Coolidge depicting dogs playing poker. A series of 27 oils on canvas were executed between 1903 and 1919 and exhibited internationally to instant acclaim. It is still exhibited in casinos and galleries in the United States, Europe and Asia to this day. This is such an interesting concept, so I decided to dig a bit more and find out the story behind it. 

The artist

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge is the artist behind Dogs Playing Poker. He wasn’t just a painter; he was also an illustrator and cartoonist who worked for magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Harper’s Weekly.

Coolidge was born in 1844 in upstate New York. After graduating high school, he joined the Union Army at age 17 during the Civil War. He was wounded during his time in the military and spent time recovering in a hospital before returning to his hometown of Troy, New York. Once he returned home, Coolidge took up art classes at night while working as a bookkeeper during the day.

In 1875, Coolidge moved to Boston where he studied at the Massachusetts Normal Art School after which he returned to Troy where he opened a studio and began selling paintings through local galleries. Coolidge eventually relocated to Chicago where he became one of America’s most popular artists.

The story behind the paintings

Coolidge began painting dogs as early as 1894, when his wife gave him a photograph of seven dogs playing poker that had been taken by photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Coolidge took the image and added human hands to the dogs’ paws to make them look like they were holding cards. When Coolidge showed his new painting to Muybridge, he was so impressed with it that he commissioned Coolidge to paint another one of his photographs: “The Card Sharps,” which featured three dogs playing poker with a human hand visible under the table.

In 1901, Coolidge published a book of dog paintings called “Dogs Playing Poker.” The book was so successful that it spawned six sequels. Coolidge’s paintings were a huge hit in their time—he did more than 100 paintings in this series, which were all sold before they were even finished. His work was so popular that it led to a few different knock-offs by other artists, including one by Norman Rockwell.

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