You know that Jane and I love the vintage Paint-by-Numbers and enjoy selling them in our shop.
But did you know there is a Paint-by-Number Museum on line where you can research and find the ones in your collection ?
When we get a “new to us” PBN, we always go to : paintbynumbermuseum.com and use their search engine to find the one we are researching. There we can find the title of our PBN, the date the kit was manufactured and the number of oil colours used in the kit.
PBNs were the democratization of art in the 50s. Anyone could paint a masterpiece. People had more leisure time for a creative experience
According to the article “Every Man a Rembrandt”, the Palmer Paint Company and artist Dan Robbins conceived the idea and began distributing the kits in 1951. By 1954, Palmer had sold over 12 million kits under the Craft Master label.
Critics pooh-poohed the mindless conformity of the kits calling those who used them “number filler inners”. One critic said that more “number pictures” hung in American homes than original works of art. But the public – young and old -loved them. Retailers welcomed the kits as transition items and estimated that as many as 10% of those doing PBNs went on to purchase traditional art supplies. And many had their PBNs professionally framed – creating a boom in that business.
And many “artists” made the PBNs their own by eliminating a detail here and there or changing a colour, thereby learning something of art in the process.
One amateur artist wrote in 2001 that “paint by number introduced me to the smell and feel of “real” paint that still thrills me today”
You can read about other remembrances at: http://americanhistory.si.edu/paint/reminiscence.html
Now isn’t that fascinating?
Here are the PBNs we have in the store right now.
“The birches” PBN from 1960. 40 oil colours
Lovely large still life Paint-by-Number from 1973. 40 oil colours. $55
“Autumn Haze”. 1969. 22 oil colours.
We have the pair. $40/pair
“Tranquil reflections” 1969. 40 oil colours. $60
“Age of innocence” by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Signed by the “artist”. M. Butler 1969. $75