A series of paintings created by C.M. Coolidge. The paintings were commissioned by an advertising company in St. Paul, Minnesota, once again proving that Minnesota's entire purpose is to bring comedy to the Union: SEE Mn, Vikings.
Since it is against the rules of ART to create anything just because its damn cool, there must be hidden meaning and metaphors behind all these paintings.
A Bold Bluff
The theme is one of risk, and no there is no painting of dogs playing Risk!....yet. The symbolism is that just like in life, we must go all in with the what we got and hope for the best, even if you're friends think you're crazy. We may never know the outcome until we lay 'em down, but a successful man must never fold (give up). Or maybe it's just suppose to be funny.
Interesting note, Coolidge original title for this work was Judge St. Bernard Stands Pat on Nothing.
A sequel! Take that snooty critics, even early 1900 artists made sequels. A hard kept secret in the art community. If news of this got out there would be a demand for a sequel to American Gothic in which the farmer totally kills his bitchy daughter with his pitch fork. Not only is this a sequel, but there are three variations of this painting, one with a poodle serving drinks. Obviously the theme is victory over defeat, and the de-masculization of a man's closest friends. It could also be a comment on the arrogance of man. The other dogs folded, the St. Bernard did not need to show his cards! He wanted them to see!
Or it's just awesome painting.
A Friend in Need
While the last painting was about humiliating friends, this one is about helping them at all costs. This is clearly a high stakes game being held in a back room around 2 in the morning, and I don't trust that dog with the pipe--you know he's looking to outfit the bulldogs for one of those plastic cones. Also, the bulldogs are united through breeding. All the other dogs are large breeds, suggesting size related discrimination in the dog world forcing the bulldogs to cheat in order to get a clean shake.
Or maybe it's just clever.
His Station with Four Aces
Tragedy is the word of the day here. Clearly the dog with four aces has not been doing that good based on the number of chips he has left. He finally got the cards he needed to win his money back and then they reach the station effectively ending the game. See the sadness and horror in that dogs poor eyes, and the relief in the other players faces, knowing that they will return home with enough money to avoid being put out in the dog house. Or perhaps Coolidges likes trains about as much as dogs.
Pinched with Four Aces
This painting is all about the rise of the police state in the early 20th century. Here an innocent game of poker is broken up by The Man, cleverly desguised as The Dog, turning honest law abidding canines into criminals. Ask, why are these cops not out collering strays or rabbid rotweilers? The rumors of a lost painting featuring a Doggie Bordello being breached by an undercover Vice-Poodle may not be an urban legend after all. However, there is some ambiguity here. As in a pervious painting, Coolidge has already established the bulldogs as cheaters (makes you wonder how he got 4 aces). Perhaps this game isn't that honest after all.
But its probably just an excuse to put a dog in a cop uniform.
The lost of young to vice and graff, and the cruel natures of man. One young pup gambles himself into a hole and then loses a painfully close hand. As his friends laugh at his failings, he falls to the ground. The fall of course is a metaphor for the fall of man from grace. Notice all the dogs are on one side of the table, similar to Leonardo's Last Supper. This dog was betrayed just like Christ. Another interprutation could be that this is an example of the kind of sins Christ died to save us from. Which raises the question: did Christ died for all animals or just humans? Do canines have a savior?
Or maybe Coolidge want to show us how fun drinking and poker can be.
This painting warns of putting all the world's power into the hands of a few people, who will make back-handed deals in a smoke filled room (Republicans). Notice how few dogs are in the room as compare to other Coolidge paintings. It is not a diverse group; No bulldogs allowed! In their meeting they discuss how to rewrite the days history to suit their own agenda. Mean while the deck of cards, a sign of the lower classes, is kept off to the side and ignored.
Or maybe Coolidge wanted to focus on the drinking instead of the cards for a change.
Sitting up with a Sick Friend
This painting highlights the trapping of marriage. The male dogs, in attempting to escape their bitch wives--female dogs are called bitches don't get mad--by lying about staying up with a sick friend, so they can play poker, or read, or just not be with dog-faced women. One female strikes her husband as he attempts to flee. The male dogs in this painting wear thick heavy collars not seen in other Coolidge paintings. Here the collar represents the bondage that is marriage, kind of like the wedding ring, but the collar is more appropriate as it shows how the union has a strangle hold on the men.
Or maybe Coolidge's wife complain about the lack of female dogs in his paintings.
Stranger in Camp
This painting is an early 20th century cry for animal rights. This depicts furry animals on a fur trapping hunting trip. It's like these dogs are hunting themselves! We humans try to separate ourseleves from the animal world but we are still animals. Just like the dog, we humans are omnivores and do not need to eat meat or harm animals to survive. Yet we justify our actions by saying certain animals are lower than others. Of course, we ignore this hole in logic by focusing on uncessary material pocessions. These dogs are demonstrating that those material pocessions are not necessary to have a good time. This could also be a comment on the French and Indian wars that led to the American Revolution. The French and Indian wars began over tension caused by French fur trapping rights. The problem might have been solved peacefully but the British monarchy had to get involved. Notice that none of the card hands (which are really good hands) do not contain face-monarch-cards. The dogs get along just find with out kings and queens. In other words: royalty has no place in the economic realms of the American outback.
Or Coolidge went camping once and thought it would be cute idea for a painting.
I mean, some of this stuff might be true, but I'll admit I don't understand all of Coolidge's paintings...
Pictured: All of man's worse fears and worries for the future