Friday, March 12, 2010

Arty Farty Friday ~ C.M. ("Cash") Coolidge

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge ("Cash" for short) - you might not recognise the name, but I'll bet you've seen at least one of his paintings and seen or read about one of his innovations.

Coolidge was born to Quaker parents, staunch abolitionists, somewhere between Antwerp and Philadelphia in New York state, on 18 September 1844. At that time Uranus was in Aries, by the way - transiting the area it's about to trundle through again for the next seven years.

This guy (self-portrait, left) was jaw-droppingly versatile. His resume includes: founding a bank, founding and running drug stores, founding a newspaper, painting signs, helping on his parents' farm, became Town Clerk, involved with Masonic Temple, received a patent for a device to collect fares from street cars.....and then there was painting.....

He started sketching in childhood, took a few formal art lessons later on, drew cartoons for local newspapers and had established a reputation locally before his doggy paintings were commissioned. He earned money as a "lightning cartoonist", which involved making quick sketches of people in front of a paying audience. Cash also illustrated several books.

His dog paintings date from the turn of the century. Mainly purchased by cigar companies and used as advertisements and freebies. Brown & Bigelow, an advertising firm, commissioned a series of dog paintings for use on calendars and memorabilia. Coolidge eventually painted 16 versions of dogs getting up to humanistic (predominantly male) pastimes: poker, pool, racing etc.

Yet another of Coolidge's brainwaves resulted in a patented invention he called Comic Foregrounds. These things are now classed as antiques, I guess, but I do remember them in fairgrounds when I was a small child. Life-sized portraits with holes where the head should be. Customers put their heads through the hole and are transformed, for a photograph, into a strong man, beautiful woman, or part of a fantasy scene. Coolidge made hundreds of different paintings for these foregrounds, started a mail order business selling them and provided income for his later life.

As if that's not enough diversity - there's more! He planned and wrote an opera titled King Gallinipper, its theme: eliminating a mosquito epidemic (New York and New Jersey were experiencing one at the time.) He designed costumes and scenery too. The opera was produced and staged. He wrote two other comedies, A Western Heiress and Le Moustique in 1885, possibly never produced on stage.

Cassius was a bachelor until age sixty-four. He married Gertrude Kimmell (29), in 1909. Quite honestly, could he possibly have found time for love in his younger years considering his career history? He died, aged 89, in 1934.

With that much versatility, I'd expect a good spread of planets around Coolidge's natal chart (no bundles or emphasis on just one or two signs), some clear input from Aquarius and Uranus (mental energy, innovation), as well as the usual Venus and Neptune creativity being strongly represented.

Time of birth isn't available, so rising sign can't be calculated. Moon, though, would have been in Sagittarius (sign ruled by Jupiter) somewhere between 10 and 24 degrees, and more likely than not was in harmonious sextile to creative Neptune in quirky Aquarius.

There is a reasonably good spread of planets. Sun and Mars are in Virgo - often said to be the sign of the workaholic. It would seem that Coolidge was, indeed something of a workaholic, from the number of enterprises he tried to get off the ground - he certainly seems to have been energetic and tireless (Mars) in his efforts in all kinds of directions.

Mercury in arty, Venus-ruled Libra is in harmonious sextile to Venus in showy Leo.

Opposing his natal Sun is expansive Jupiter, strong in its own sign of Pisces, and conjunct inventive Uranus (which though in the next sign, Aries, is still close enough to be termed conjoined). Here is the Uranus input I expected, and it's magnified by Jupiter. Right nextdoor is business-driven Saturn in its traditional rulership, mentally-driven Aquarius, lying in helpful sextile to its modern ruler, Uranus. Key here, I think, is the way Jupiter (expansion) and Uranus (innovation) link in to key elements of the chart - Sun and Moon.


Wisewebwoman said...

What a delight this multi-talented man was and still is looking at his legacy.
Thanks for giving him a name abd persona.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ You're welcome. :-)