Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Cassius Marcellus Collidge

Humoring the Goddess

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (September 18, 1844 – January 13, 1934) was a drugstore owner, painter, bank owner, and inventor.

But Coolidge (who at times signed his work Kash” or Kash Koolidge) became well known as the creator of the dogs-playing-poker genre of painting, a subject which grew out of the 19th-century tradition of visual humor.

His knack for crafting playfully surreal images culminated in his magnum opus, the absurdist canine series for which he’s best remembered today.

According to the advertising firm Brown & Bigelow, then primarily a producer of advertising calendars, Coolidge began his relationship with the firm in 1903.

From the mid-1900s to the mid-1910s, Coolidge created a series of sixteen oil paintings for them, all of which featured anthropomorphic dogs, including nine paintings of Dogs Playing Poker,] a motif that Coolidge is credited with inventing.

His work was purchased by cigar companies, who made copies of…

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