Fabric:A Bold Bluff

Cranston Print Works Co.ca. 1990

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Few images carry the iconic status, in America, of M.C. Coolidge's set of paintings of dogs playing poker. Coolidge attempted many careers during his lifetime but none brought him the fame, and sometime infamy, of his sixteen paintings of anthropomorphic dogs--soon reproduced and printed on all kinds of materials. "A Bold Bluff" is one of the more instantly recognizeable images, with a stately St. Bernard at the left and a smart Pinscher at right, sizing the other up as the bluffer. Today scholars debate about whether Coolidge's paintings helped bring the game of poker out of the barroom and into the parlor. Certainly the friendly image of man's best friend didn't hurt poker's reputation. Art citics scorned Coolidge's works from the start, but they still rank among the most popular, recognizeable, and quitessentially American mass-produced images.

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  • Title: Fabric:A Bold Bluff
  • Creator: Cranston Print Works Co.
  • Date Created: ca. 1990
  • Location: USA
  • Subject Keywords: dog, poker
  • Type: Card Games
  • Rights: Brown & Bigelow
  • Medium: printed cotton
  • Object ID: 112.5311
  • Credit Line: Gift of Joseph D. Andrews in Memory of His Father, Joseph V. Andrews