Friday, September 18, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - Black velvet and a little boy smile

Since I posted about fine art theft yesterday, I thought we'd stay in the artistic vein, and discuss some of the finest art known to man.
I'm talking about Cassius Coolidge's famed 1903 series of Dogs Playing Poker.
Someone has WAAAAYYY too much time and patience.

Of course, only nine of the sixteen paintings depict anthropomorphic (thanks, Mr. Ceci!) dogs at cards, the others show the canines playing pool and pursuing other manly activities of the early 20th century, like riding goats. What?Brown & Bigelow, the same company that published Norman Rockwell's works, commissioned the paintings in order to sell cigars. Makes perfect sense to me. Of course, what really sets these paintings apart from other likenesses to have graced the ebony velveteen was the February 2005 sale of a pair of these paintings for $590,400. Take that, Elvis hangin' with Jesus!
Coolidge also invented and marketed the greatest photo op mankind has ever known, the novelty he called Comic Foregrounds, for which he was granted a patent. These foregrounds are the familiar life-sized portraits with holes located where the head should be. The patrons stick their head through the hole and are transformed into a strong man, beautiful woman, or immersed in a fantasy scene. Today they are common around carnivals and tourist traps. Coolidge made hundreds of different paintings for these foregrounds, some of which had titles such as "Man Riding a Donkey" or "Fat Man in a Bathing Suit." He started a mail order business selling these caricatures, which provided most of his income later in his life.
So stick your head in that and smoke it!


Bev said...

I love those cut-out things that you stick your face through. I can't walk by one without doing it, but then again... I'm a ham.

Happy Friday!

Samsmama said...

Finally! I can never get your page to load properly!

Anyhoo, yes, those cut-out things are the best! Especially when a guy poses as a chic in a bikini or some other tomfoolery. I'm a ham, AND I'm extremely mature.

P.S. "Take that, Elvis hangin' with Jesus" was awesome. Not something you read everyday.

Elliott said...

SM, sorry you're having page loading problems. I have the same issue with yours sometimes, though I don't mind the scantily clad woman with the liquor as a substitute to proper reading.

Have fun in Jamaica (or alternately...hope you had fun in Jamaica.)

Be nice and share!

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