The democratization of art: PBNs

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 $35

“The birches” PBN from 1960. 40 oil colours
$35

Lovely large still life Paint-by-Number from 1973. 40 oil colours. $55

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

“Autumn Haze”. 1969. 22 oil colours.
We have the pair. $40/pair

"Tranquil reflections" 1969. 40 oil colours. $60

“Tranquil reflections” 1969. 40 oil colours. $60

Our favourite! "Age of innocence" by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Masterpiece series. Signed by the "artist". M. Butler 1969. $75

Our favourite!
“Age of innocence” by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Masterpiece series.
Signed by the “artist”. M. Butler 1969. $75

Thornton-Smith vanity chair

We have a very lovely pale blue vanity chair in the store this week.

The chair was beautifully made by the Thornton-Smith Company of Toronto in 1940.

Mabel Cawthra Adamson, who was the first president of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Canada in 1903, founded the Canadian franchise of the Thornton-Smith Compnay, a British interior design firm, in 1905.

This company was a legendary influence on Toronto interiors. They sold custom furniture, fabrics, rugs and drapery. They decorated  the Royal Alexander Theatre, parts of Massey Hall and even the Senate Chamber in Ottawa.

We are pleased to be able to offer this delightful swivelling vanity chair with such an interesting history attached.

$140

Beautiful Thornton-Smith vanity chair from 1940. Excellent condition. It swivels! $140

Beautiful Thornton-Smith vanity chair from 1940. Excellent condition. It swivels! (SOLD)

Rousseau metal chairs

I very recently purchased four vintage metal bridge chairs at a sale. They are really strong, fold-up chairs in a black finish and with their original green vinyl seats.

Luckily, they still have their original labels on the back reading “Rousseau Metal, St-Jean Port Joli, Quebec, Canada”.

So, I did a little research – as per usual – and found out that the company still exists. I wrote to them on the off chance they might respond.

Well, Direct Marketing Agent Rebecca Dube of Rousseau Metal very kindly answered me back the very next day with all kinds of interesting information and photos on our chairs.

Turns out they were made in the 1950s and were part of bridge sets produced by this company which was founded in 1950 with three employees in a 15,000 sq. ft factory! They manufactured a variety of products including all types of multi-purpose cabinets, some for Canada Post, mailboxes, electric meter boxes and… bridge tables and chairs!

Rousseau Metal now uses cutting-edge technology in their 183,000 sq. ft facility in the same place supplying companies with”workspace and organizations solutions for almost 60 years”.

Isn’t that fascinating?

Please have a look at the photos that Rebecca kindly sent!

We have actually decided to keep the chairs and not sell them in the store. We are going to use them for our musicians who come and play here every First Friday – they are really comfortable!

Many thanks to Rebecca for the information and permission to use her archival photos.

Roussea Metal label

Rousseau Metal label

One of our Rousseau metal chairs.

One of our Rousseau metal chairs.

Original Rousseau Metal bridge table and chair set from the 1950s.

Original Rousseau Metal bridge table and chair set from the 1950s.

Freshly painted bridge chairs on the factory floor.

Freshly painted bridge chairs out of the oven.

 

Carlo of Hollywood oil painting

A Carlo of Hollywood original oil painting on masonite!

Artcraft was Carlo’s studio and was located in the Lincoln Heights Station area near Los Angeles. He painted in the mid 50s.

Apparently his art was sold in department stores and was bought by contractors as gifts for new homeowners!

Rumour on the net says he may have designed sets on the I Love Lucy show.

When I first saw our painting, I thought it was of a golf course! However, it is actually a lake with a couple of boats and a sand bar. The colours are fabulous!

Carlo of Hollywood oil on masonite painting. $575

Carlo of Hollywood oil on masonite painting. SOLD

Artcraft label

Artcraft label

Neilson School Maps from 1952

My husband Peter has always been a geography nut!  As a 10 year old in 1952, he saved up his allowance and somehow persuaded the powers-that-be at the Annapolis Royal Regional Academy to procure for him these two school maps, made by Copp Clark and given to schools by the Neilson Company on the condition that the lettering on the map would not be altered in any way.

He was lucky and secured both maps…the one of Canada (which hasn’t changed much) and the one of the world, which has changed considerably since that time.  These maps hung in his bedroom until he went away to university, and have been rolled up for 52 years.  They are in beautiful condition, with bright lithography and strong paper!  Wonderfully decorative and hard to find, they are offered at $110 each.

1950s Neilson's Chocolates Map of Canada. $110

1950s Neilson’s Chocolates Map of Canada. $110

Neilson's World Map. $110

Neilson’s World Map. $110

Extraordinary pair of red glass lamps

Not for everyone… but maybe for you ? So astonishing, they are magnificent!

These all original lamps are quite outstanding. Amazing metal overlay over the red/gold glass bases. Funky red and black ribbon shades and lots of glam!

The overlay is brass, but we can’t say for sure.

What we can say is that this pair would make a difference to your home!

Pair of glam red glass lamps with metal overlay. Original ribbon shades. Original wiring. $125/pair

Pair of glam red glass lamps with metal overlay. Original ribbon shades. Original wiring. $125/pair

Detail of the metal overlay on the red lamps.

Detail of the metal overlay on the red lamps.

Franciscan Ware water tumblers

4 beautiful  and rare Franciscan Ware water tumblers in the “El Patio” pattern in a lovely coral colour.

This pattern was the first produced by Gladding McBean and the first to carry the name Franciscan Ware in 1934. It was an anchor of the line for over 20 years.

The silky feel of the glaze is just beautiful.

I’m thrilled to be able to offer these 4 tumblers in the store this week.

Rare Franciscan Ware water tumblers. "El Patio" pattern" from 1934. $100 for 4

Rare Franciscan Ware water tumblers.
“El Patio” pattern” from 1934. $100 for 4

Eagles on the bedside

Jane and I love this new ensemble we set up in the store this morning.

We think these Eagle lamps looks stunning on these bedside tables just brought into the store.

These walnut nightstands are made by Knechtel Furniture of Hanover, Ontario.

Eagle lamps $175 pair. Beside tables $295 pair.

Eagle lamps (SOLD)
Beside tables (SOLD)

Colour, colour and colour!

It was just wonderful to hear Kaffe Fassett talk last night in Sandy Cove about colour and design inspiration.

www.kaffefassett.com

I took this photo in our shop this morning thinking of all the colours and how happy they make us all.

Red quilt $125 Pair of pink lamps $195/pair Green barkcloth cushion $85 Patch quilt $200 Striped armchair $175

Red quilt $125
Pair of pink lamps $195/pair
Green barkcloth cushion $85
Patch quilt $200
Striped armchair $175

Vintage TV tray set

Just new in the store today is this fabulous set of four TV trays with illustrations by Frank M. Hamilton.

They represent the four seasons: Spring Rains, Gone for the Summer, Autumn Harvest and Deep Winter. They date to 1970 and come with their original stand.

They are in excellent vintage condition with no tears or scratches. Practical and sturdy!

$115 set. Very collectible and hard to find.

SOLD!

Spring and summer series.

Spring and summer scenes.

Fall and winter scenes.

Fall and winter scenes.