Speculation of racism, in regard to Coolidge, seem unlikely, given Coolidge's Quaker up bringing.
Left is a rare example of his other work. Found , after his death, in his own collection, Injured Innocence, would support this hypotomus.
In the words of his daughter Marcelle, on her father's work:
"I didn't like it, girls don't like things like that. It was for boys and men.......you can't imagine cats playing poker, it doesn't seem to go."
or art historian Moira F. Harris:
"It's not Beatrix Potter, it's not anything gentle. It's a man's world."
Dogs Playing Poker- is it Art ?
Tango's owner lived in Pittsburgh, PA (the home of Keystone Cigars) and was brought up in NYC, not far from the 5th Avenue home of the St. Bernard, Champion.
His owner was also a keen admirer of Native American and Asia art. The background colour, was left over from my painting Havasu and contains some ground red rock taken with permission, and blessed by the shaman of the Havasupia reservation, situated in the Grand Canyon.
The ash-tray is actually a topaz Ming Dynasty opium pipe tray.
On the back of the cards the Rosicrucian Cross links us the mysticism of the Holy Qabbalah and my painting of painter Bill Lewis, Night, who is acquainted wyh Tango's owner.
A typical example of Brown & Bigelow's graphic style.
Riding the Goat-a comic take on a Masonic theme.
As for the whisky glass with the blue stripped straw?
Painting's completed with a feminist statement!
This painting, originally entitle Judge St.Bernard Stands Pat on Nothing, is the second of sixteen anthropomorphic paintings commission by Brown & Bigelow on behalf of Keystone Cigars, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the one most frequently, and mistakenly, coined Dogs Playing Poker; a term invented by Coolidge himself (AKA Kash Koolridge in his earlier careers) after the success of Keystone's advertising campaign. Nine of the sixteen paintings feature dogs playing cards.
Waterloo, the last in the series also shares the same fate. Staged serial seconds after Bold Bluff, the St.Bernard has thrown in his hand, much to the distress of the boxer, who spills his Whisky.
Coolidge, self-portrait, 1923
"He's supposed to be the Michelangelo of the dog world."
Gwen Acheson 87, town historian.
OK-so now questions of racism and misogyny have arisen, what about World domination Illuminati/Mansonic conspiracy theories, you may ask?
Alas is nothing sacred, not even our beloved Americano Dogs Playing Poker paintings? It would seem not ....
A Bold Bluff by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge
(12th Nov 1844-24th Jan 1934), featuring Champion the St.Bernard, owned by a florist of 5th Ave., NYC.
Study of Champion 1901
But is it Art? Well, it never was meant to be any thing more than a piece of graphic design, but Bold Bluff, Dogs Playing Poker, or what ever you choose to call it, has become such an archetype of Americana, I say yes! Is it good art? That's not for me to say.
A Bold Bluff was not Coolidge's first take on his commission, there was a reject. One can only speculate to what reasons.
Which brings me to my own painting:
18"x 18", oil on canvas
A Bold Bluff-the original.
Poodle version; I don't know about you, but I love her!