Dogs Playing Poker is the name given to a series of paintings in many of which dogs are sitting at a table playing poker. The paintings are part of a series commissioned in 1903 by the advertising company Brown & Bigelow to promote cigars. However, the 9 paintings of the dogs playing poker are the most well known. Prints of the paintings are extremely popular in the United States and they have inspired a number of artists and spawned many parodies. The originals are very highly valued and 2 of the paintings, “Waterloo” and A “Bold Bluff”, sold as a pair at auction in 2005 for $590,400 after an initial guide price of $30,000 – $50,000. If you have ever wondered who painted these famous advertisements, keep reading to find out.
Who painted the Dogs Playing Poker series?
The Dogs Playing Poker paintings were the work of artist C. M. Coolidge. He completed the series over several years. Some of the paintings are modeled on paintings of humans playing poker by earlier artists. Coolidge had no formal training, but had a natural talent for drawing that led him to a career as a cartoon illustrator and later a painter. His paintings of dogs playing poker inspired many others to create similar images, including artist Arthur Sarnoff who also painted dogs playing poker and pool.
Did you know?
Coolidge is also credited as the inventor of the life size character cutouts where a person places their head in the cutout for a humorous photo!
Prior to the sale of “Waterloo” and A “Bold Bluff” the highest price for one of Coolidge’s paintings was just $74,000. The following is the famous “Waterloo” painting.