Dogs Playing Poker
Dogs Playing Poker refers collectively to a series of sixteen oil paintings by C. M. Coolidge, commissioned in 1903 by Brown & Bigelow to advertise cigars. All the paintings in the series feature anthropomorphized dogs, but the nine in which dogs are seated around a card table have become derisively well known in the United States as examples of mainly working-class taste in home decoration. Critic Annette Ferrara describes Dogs Playing Poker as "indelibly burned into ... the American collective-schlock subconscious ... through incessant reproduction on all manner of pop ephemera."
The titles in the "Dogs Playing Poker" series proper are:
- A Bold Bluff (originally titled Judge St. Bernard Stands Pat on Nothing)
- 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 (originally titled Judge St. Bernard Wins on a Bluff)
- Ten Miles to a Garage
- Riding the Goat
- New Year's Eve in Dogville
- One to Tie Two to Win
- Breach of Promise Suit
- The Reunion
- A Bachelor's Dog
These were followed in 1910 by a similar painting, Looks Like Four of a Kind. Some of the compositions in the series are modeled on paintings of human card-players by such artists as Caravaggio, Georges de La Tour, and Paul Cézanne.
The St. Bernard in the paintings Waterloo and A Bold Bluff was owned by the Fifth Avenue florist Theodore Lang, who counted Coolidge among his friends. The dog's name was Captain. On February 15, 2005, the originals of A Bold Bluff and Waterloo were auctioned as a pair to an undisclosed buyer for US $590,400. The previous top price for a Coolidge was $74,000.
- "Dogs Playing Poker". Ooo Woo – Complete Dog Resource. 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2006.[unreliable source?]
- Ferrara, Annette (April 2008). "Lucky Dog!". Ten by Ten Magazine. Chicago: Tenfold Media. Archived from the original on March 27, 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2006. Note: The "collective-schlock" material is transposed from the last paragraph to replace a pronoun in this quote from the first paragaph.
- McManus, James. "Play It Close to the Muzzle and Paws on the Table," New York Times (December 3, 2005).
- Personal communication, Viola Etta Lang, daughter of Theodore Lang, 1991.
- "A New York auction offers artistic treats for dog lovers," San Jose Mercury News (Feb 11, 2005).
- "'Dogs Playing Poker' sell for $590K". Money.com (CNN). February 16, 2005. Retrieved September 11, 2006.
- Harris, Maria ochoea. "It's A Dog's World, According to Coolidge," A Friendly Game of poker"(Chicago Review Press, 2003).