Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (18 September, 1844 – 13 January, 1934), also shortened as CM Coolidge, was an American artist whose artwork mainly consisted of illustrations and paintings. He is famous for his series of paintings that depict dogs playing poker. Coolidge was also known as Cash, spelled as either "Cash" or "Kash." He was born in Antwerp, New York, although he was brought up in the city of Philadelphia, New York. Coolidge’s artistic prowess was more of personal training, observations, and trial and error. He started off making drawings using simple crayons. This is especially so because he didn’t get any formal training in art. He started his series of dog paintings after trying out different careers that included being a druggist and a sign painter. He also founded a bank and a local newspaper, but at some point, he had to quit it all to concentrate on art. Coolidge’s art career started picking up when he was in his 20s, starting off as a cartoonist for a local newspaper.
Coolidge started pursuing his art career more seriously after his coworker saw his paintings and was mesmerized. The coworker advised him to take a trip to New York City to explore his talent further. While in New York City, he managed to get some art lessons from a portrait painter. And that was it for him in terms of arts training. Although he became quite famous through his dog paintings, he was already established even before starting off with the dog paintings. Apart from painting dogs, Coolidge is also famed for having invented the Comic Foregrounds where life size portraits are created and a hole created at the head then people would put their faces in the holes to transform them to different characters. Two of his paintings believed to have been the original pieces used by Brown and Bigelow, an advertising firm, went on auction in 2005, fetching a total of $590,400, against the expected $30,000 - $50,000. This was way above his earlier auction record which stood at $74,000.