Coolidge, according to the Santa Cruz Public Libraries web site:
"According to the antique authorities Ralph and Terry Kovel:
1868 and 1872 Cassius Marcellus Coolidge worked as a druggist
and sign painter, founded a bank and a newspaper, then moved
from Antwerp, New York, to Rochester, where he started painting
dogs in human situations. His poker-playing dogs are the most
famous, but he also painted dogs on a commuter train and in
a ballpark. Coolidge's first customers were cigar companies
that printed copies of the paintings for giveaways. Coolidge
eventually signed a contract with Brown & Bigelow to turn
out hundreds of thousands of copies of his dog paintings for
advertising posters, calendars, and prints."
just goes to show that you can teach an old man new tricks.
But forget the man and let's look at the work for a minute. Notice
how the fantasy scenarios and absurd juxtapositions that happen
in the paintings predate the Surrealists by nearly 50 years. And
even though Coolidge's use of light is reminscent of Rembrant
and the other great Dutch masters, he combines it with a contemporary
social commentary that is a good century ahead of the activist
postmodern art of the '80s.
perhaps most illuminating in perceiving Coolidge's genius is his
seminal influence on Pop Art. Here is an excerpt from "Sohodo:
Dogs of the 60s Artscene and the Painters who Fed Them,"
by Tippie Beagle. Beagle notes:
was common knowledge among the dogs who regularly frequented
the Dumpster Salons of the era that Andy Warhol was heavily
influenced by the work of C. M. Coolidge, perhaps to a far greater
degree than he was willing to admit. Warhol was the constant
companion of a black dachshund named 'Archie' who regularly
attended the Salons. Archie would note that Warhol was inspired
by Coolidge's conceptual move into the popular culture, blurring
the lines between art, advertising and mass marketing. And Warhol
always regreted that Coolidge discovered the throw-rug tapestry
before he did."
to honor the genius of Cassius Coolidge, we offer the following
portfolio of some of his works. Not only can you experience the
brilliance of the artist, but you can actually own a print of
one these masterpieces, and help support Blogdogs at the same
time, since we get a tiny cut of the action, if you know what