Art and gambling are two things that do not usually go hand in hand, but over the centuries there have been some great artists who have used gambling as a theme for their work. Some pieces of work are now worth a lot of money. The BCAC held a gambling art exhibition back in July 2019, using replicas of famous pieces of art.
We now live in a world of online casinos, which means that many of us have forgotten (or never learnt) about the origins of gambling. Well, gambling is something that has been around for thousands of centuries. It is believed that card games started in China and then spread out across the world.
Although gambling was reserved for the upper-class, by the 15th century the working man began to gamble a lot more. Not only did artists paint about card games, but gambling went on to inspire some of the best pieces of art that the world has seen.
Below you can learn about some of the gambling-related artwork that was on show at this exhibition.
The Cardsharps by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian Baroque artist. It is believed that he created this painting in 1594. The painting shows two boys having a game of cards, where one of the boys is clearly cheating. There is an older man looking over the non-cheater’s shoulder, telling the other boy what cards he has.
The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs by Georges de La Tour
This piece of art was painted by Georges de La Tour somewhere between the years 1626 and 1629. This painting shows two women playing cards with one man, who produces two aces from under his belt when they are distracted. The female and the maidservant on the right are showing signs of suspicion and anxiety. In 1635, he created another version of this painting which was called “The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds”.
Argument Over a Card Game by Jan Steen
This painting was created by Jan Steen during the Dutch Golden Age. It is considered to be one of the best gambling themed paintings of all time. This painting turns the art of gambling into a drama during a card game. In this painting,Steen managed to capture the life of common people and turned chaotic situations into true masterpieces.
The Card Players by Paul Cezanne
These are a series of oil paintings, five in total, that were created by Paul Cezanne in the 1890s. Cezanne painted French Post-Impressionist art and the paintings in this series captured drunken peasants playing cards and smoking in taverns, which was one of the only forms of entertainment outside work.
Dogs Playing Snooker by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge
Ask anyone whether they have seen a dogs playing snooker painting and there is a very good chance that they will tell you that they have. In fact, this is one of most recognizable series of gambling paintings that have ever been created. Brown and Bigelow commission Cassius Marcellus Coolidge to paint these paintings at the beginning of the 20th century as a means to advertise cigars. These paintings have become extremely popular across the United States, with many using them for decoration in their homes.
Soldiers Playing Cards by Fernand Leger
Fernand Leger was a Cubist artist that was heavily influenced by Picasso and Cezanne. This painting is considered to be his masterpiece and it shows his absolute fascination with World War I. He mixed Cubism with machine aesthetics, while portraying the mechanical nature of battle as well as the anonymity of those who take part in it. He created this masterpiece while he was in hospital in Paris after he took part in the Battle of Verdun.
An Option to Buy a Copy of One of These Paintings
Those who went to this exhibition and really liked a piece of art that they saw, had the option of buying a replica of the painting. All the original versions of the painting are extremely expensive if you wanted the original you would need to have at least a couple of million in the bank. However, the replicas are obviously a lot cheaper and still look very nice sitting on your wall.
Furthermore, all the money that was made from the sales of these replicas went to the BCAC, meaning that anyone who purchased some replicas were helping out an important organization of British Columbia. Come the end of the exhibition, the BCAC had received more than $20,000 in sales, which they then put to a good cause.
The Famous Paintings Were Not the Only Art on Show
As you probably already know, the BCAC cares about artists across British Columbia, so they were not only going to have an exhibition that was displaying gambling related art from famous artists.
Therefore, six months before the exhibition was due to open, the BCAC put out a call for gambling related art across the region. They had a lot of applications, more than 1,000 to be precise. The best fifty were chosen for the exhibition, which was not an easy task as there were so many fascinating pieces of art.
The local gambling related art was in one corner of the exhibition and it got a lot of attention from those who took the time to visit the exhibition. The local art was also up for sale, with the money going to the artists of course. Overall, more than half of the local art was snapped up by local art collectors.
Overall, the exhibition was a huge success and is something that they will look to do again in the near future. So, if you missed out on this one, do not worry as there will definitely be another exhibition that you can visit soon.
To make sure that you do not miss out though, like their group on Facebook or Twitter as they regularly update their pages with news of upcoming events.