You've seen them before right? Paintings, posters, postcards, computer wallpapers, and even calendars. Did you know that they were first painted by a man from Upstate New York?

The man behind these famous paintings is Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, born in 1844 in Antwerp, NY.

According to his Wikipedia page, Coolidge was raised in nearby Philadelphia, NY, just a few miles from Fort Drum.

After leaving his family's farm in the late 1890's, Coolidge tried his hand as a druggist, sign painter and even founded a bank before moving to Rochester where he began painting.

It was in 1903 that Coolidge was hired by the advertising firm Brown & Bigelow to create a series of paintings of dogs in human situations doing human things.

Coolidge painted a total of 16 of these works, with nine having the 'Dogs Playing Poker' theme.

Many do not know that each 'dog playing poker' painting has a specific name(the one above is titled 'A Bold Bluff').

The others are:

  • A friend in need
  • His station and four aces
  • Pinched with four aces
  • Poker sympathy
  • Post Mortem
  • Sitting up with a sick friend
  • Stranger in camp
  • Waterloo

He also created 'Kelly Pool,' which features his famous dogs playing a game of pool.

And if you've ever stuck your head in one of those cardboard/plywood cut-outs,(they're called 'comic foregrounds') you have Cassius Marcellus Coolidge to thank.

Luke Austin, TSM
Luke Austin, TSM

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