Comic Foregrounds - February 19, 2015

What the heck, you might ask, is a "Comic Foreground"?  Well, that's a good question and we're glad you asked.  It is a cartoonish piece of artwork intended to have someone pose behind it to give the appearance that their head is connected to an odd, funny, or even scary body. Photographs taken of the person behind the foreground tend to make them look super-silly. Being super silly means that the American Treasure Tour has to have at least one of them on display.  Ours is in our main entrance area.

Unfortunately, we couldn't recruit anyone to pose with ours for the blog, but we are happy to share a photo of it with you anyway.  The man accredited with creating the first of these is very close to our hearts here at the ATT:  Cassius Marcellus "Kash" Coolidge.  Not to be confused with the 30th President of the United States (That's Calvin, if you forgot), Kash had little formal training at painting, but some of his art has become a fixture in American culture.

QUESTION:
While the Comic Foreground is a true and worthy legacy for any artist, Coolidge's skills did not end with this.  What much more famous painting is he better known for?
A)  The Mona Lisa
B)  American Gothic
C)  A Friend in Need
D)  Whistler's Mother
ANSWER BELOW

THE LONE STAR BECOMES ONE OF MANY.  On this day in 1846, the Republic of Texas officially disbanded. Massive debt made it virtually impossible for the young country to remain independent and there was really no question whether it would revert to Mexican rule or become part of the United States for a few reasons.  One was that many of the residents had settled there from the good old U.S. of A. and held greater loyalty to their northern neighbors.  Another was that Mexico had already banned slavery, and Texans were not ready to give up the "peculiar institution."  So, America here we come!

THE BIG BAD MARVIN.  Today we celebrate the birth of one of American cinema's greatest tough guys, Lee Marvin.  It's difficult to imagine the lanky 6'2" Marvin as anything other than the gruff warrior he often represented on film, but yes, on this day in 1924, he was a little baby boy, likely (hopefully!) getting cuddled by mommy and daddy.  A U.S. Marine in the Pacific Theater of World War II, Marvin's battle scars worked well for him in roles including 1953's noir The Big Heat, The Dirty Dozen from 1967, and the odd musical Paint Your Wagon two years later.  Really, his resume is long and impressive.  So celebrate Lee today by watching seven or eleven of his films!

QUOTE:  If I have any appeal at all, it's to the guy who takes out the garbage. - Lee Marvin

Answer:  C)  A Friend in Need.  Okay, this is kind of a trick question, because "A Friend in Need" is the name of a painting more familiarly known as "Dogs Playing Poker."  You'll just have to come take a tram ride at the American Treasure Tour to learn more about that!