179: Bold Bluff Nov 2019


Bold Bluff was painted by C.M. Coolidge in 1906. The St. Bernard is holding a pair of twos and yet he is betting a tall stack of chips. He is bluffing; and the bluff works. In a sequel, called Waterloo, St. Bernard is raking in his winnings. The two original paintings sold together at auction in 2005 for $590,000. There were 16 paintings in the series Dogs Playing Poker commissioned by the advertising firm Brown and Bigelow. Critics called it kitsch and schlock. I call it genius the way Coolidge put human eyes and human expressions on the dogs.