Dogs Playing Poker

If you are an art lover then you definitely would have heard about the famous dog playing poker series of paintings by the renowned artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. The painting which shows the dogs seated around the poker table playing the card was originally called “Looks Like Four of a Kind” was painted sometime in 1910 and was part of a series of 16 paintings by Coolidge. The artist has other accomplishments to his credit as well. He was a sign painter as well as a druggist and he also founded a newspaper and a bank.

Coolidge later moved to New York where he started his career as an artist and commenced painting dogs in various human situations. The dogs playing poker is one of his most famous paintings and he has painted other dog paintings as well showing dogs on a commuter, a ball park and even a train. When a work of art is used for advertisement purposes then it always is like clinching gold for the artist. The same thing happened for Coolidge and the very first takers of his dog paintings were the cigar companies. These companies were looking for unique yet compelling ways of advertisement to sell their products and dogs depicting humans in Coolidge’s paintings appealed to them.

In 1903, Coolidge signed a contract with the cigar giant Brown and Bigelow to paint a series of paintings of dogs in many human situations and scenarios. From the entire set of 16, nine of the paintings showed dogs seated around a poker table and enjoying the poker games. The cigar company made copies of the painting and gave them as give-aways. They used the paintings extensively to advertise their cigars and the paintings were a hit among the customers, who loved the novel way in which the dogs were depicted in human scenarios. Seeing dogs on advertisement pamphlets or print ads was a far cry from seeing the product being promoted through the same old models.

From them on there was no looking back for these paintings as they were printed and used on every kind of item from calendars, notebooks, mouse pads, pens and other stationary to T shirts and even shoes. These paintings have even been used by online casino games as a unique way to promote their poker games. Coolidge would have definitely made a fortune in today’s standards because two of his dog series paintings were auctioned at jaw dropping prices at an auction held in 2005.