In this article, we’ll cover the birth of painting by numbers, also its rise to popularity, and the fascinating creations that followed. Whether you’re looking for vintage paint by numbers unused or decades-old timeless paintings, here’s how paint by numbers looked in the 50s.
Additionally, the renewed craze of paint by numbers has encouraged people to seek relief through art therapy. New fans are now entering the hobby scene, but it was more than six decades ago that this collectable hobby first became a thing.
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Vintage Paint by Numbers Unused – The Birth of Paint by Numbers
- Used Book in Good Condition
- Princeton Architectural Press (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Dan Robbins, for instance, was a commercial artist based in Detroit. In 1949, he started working at Palmer Show Card paint company, where he was tasked with a rather odd assignment: sell more paint.
Firstly, Robbins had to come up with a clever scheme to promote his company’s paint products. In his autobiography, for instance, he says that it was perhaps Leonardo da Vinci who inspired him to create the first paint by numbers hobby kit.
Da Vinci had an intuitive teaching system for apprentice painters, and he would give his students projects with numbered patterns, and this would indicate which colors should be used and in what areas. This mainly helped his students with underpainting and visualizations, but Robbins had a different idea.
Robbins painted an artwork, placed a transparent paper over it, then outlined the whole drawing. He assigned a number for each color, then numbered each segment on the artwork according to the corresponding color. Therefore, his hobby kit was now ready to be presented to the masses.
“Every Man a Rembrandt”
This was proclaimed on the first-ever paint by numbers packaging, therefore Rembrandt was perhaps one of art history’s most prominent figures. Which was a prestigious accolade that the average joe could now acquire by simply brushing paint on a jigsaw-like design.
Firstly, Robbins’ first paint by numbers painting was called Abstract No. 1, which was a timeless abstract painting that Robbins described as “A little Braque, a little Picasso, and a lot of Robbins.”
A Post-War Cultural Phenomenon
American people loved the new trend since they then had time to engage in leisure activities. It was also said that painting helped relax and destress, something most of America’s youth were yearning for.
In 1955, Palmer Show Card had grown into a massive company, with 800 employees producing 50,000 kits a day. And by the end of the year, roughly 20 million kits were sold in the United States.
The original vintage paint by number kits tended to be abstract, an homage to the original creator’s work. However, as the hobby was commercialized and sold to the masses, portraits and less abstract designs started to take the spotlight.
Vintage Paint by Numbers Paintings
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If you want to check some of the most iconic paint-by-number paintings, you can check out Dan Robbins’ creations. It’s evident how his style has greatly shifted from abstract to naturalistic. His latest works were inspired by contemporary portraiture and scenic photos he saw in the National Geographic magazine.
Here are some of history’s most popular paint by number paintings.
1. Winter’s Finery by Dan Robbins
Winter’s Finery is a masterpiece created by Robbins himself. It’s featured in the Doug James collection and is considered one of the rarest paint by number paintings.
The painting is a scene from winter’s final days of glory. The scene is mostly covered with snow and boughs that don’t bear any leaves. You could see the snowy mountains overlooking the valley and some pine trees.
Robbins painted this canvas using 27 oil colors. It was released as a paint by numbers kit in 1952, in the Craft Master 3 kit series.
2.Winter’s Finery by Dan Robbins
Adam Grant is a painter widely admired by curators and critics. He was born in Poland and imprisoned in Auschwitz in 1942. When he emigrated to the United States in 1950, he saw Robbins call for additional artists and was one of the first responders.
Robbins praises Grant highly in his autobiography, saying that he knew he was the right person for the job, and that they were lucky to have him.
This piece dates back to 1951, featuring an oriental maid in a colorful costume. The beauty of the far east and the mysticism of the oriental setting made this painting stand out from the rest of the kit series.
3. Western Stagecoach Scene by Kitsch Art
If you’re looking to collect a vintage painting, you can find a lot of online sellers offering incredible creations. Like this one, a 1960s painting by Kitsch Art depicting an action-packed chase scene in the wild west.
This large 22×18-inch painting is secured in a sturdy frame that looks to be in perfect condition. Another masterful creation under the name of paint by numbers.
Vintage Paint by Numbers Unused Kits
If you’re looking for unused vintage kits, you can find some rare collectibles on the internet. Here are some of the rare finds we came across. If you weren’t so lucky and the kits were sold out, you can look for online sellers offering their own vintage collections.
1. Craft Master 1950s Vintage Set
Palmer Show Card changed their name to Craft Master in the mid-fifties. It was an attempt to rebrand their company as sales skyrocketed. This is probably one of the rarest unused kits you can find.
Series 24 was one of the company’s first paint by number kits under the new name. It comes with 2 different landscapes titled “Country Scenes.” The brushes, instructions, and 24 oil paints are all intact. Even better, the box itself is in perfect condition.
Vintage kits like this are a dream opportunity for art collectors. At the price that’s being offered right now, it’s an absolute catch!
2. Craft Master 1970s Vintage Set
Another vintage kit is Craft Master’s Tapestry Painting set. It was made in 1975 and has never been opened since then.
The tapestry template is gorgeous without coloring, so we can only imagine what it would look like framed and hung on a wall. It comes with a color guide, acrylics, a paintbrush, and instructions.
3. Pann Products 1950s Oil Painting Kit
Craft Master may have started this whole phenomenon, but a lot of companies soon entered the market. Pann Products are considered one of the oldest companies to start the production of their own paint-by-number kits.
There are two canvases titled Kentucky Thoroughbreds, a paintbrush, 18 capsules of fully intact oil paint, and a brochure. You should probably use thinners to get the paint to work again, but other than that, everything is present and in great condition.
4. Waddingtons Art Master 1987 Vintage Kit
Finally, we came across this 1987 vintage kit from Waddingtons Art Master. It features four British heritage canvases coupled with 30 paint capsules.
It has some of the most eye-catching castles in Great Britain, from Windsor Castle in Berkshire to Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, and is an excellent vintage kit for the price.
Vintage Paint by Numbers Unused – Conclusion
- ★Framed: The framed oil painting uses the frame to prop up the canvas for easy painting.
- ★Pre-printed Textured Canvas: High density canvas is durable and easy to color; easy-to-read numbers help identify the correct color to use.
- ★Easy to Follow: Perfect for kids and adults who is beginner level with patience and time. You will get lots of fun and relaxation.
In conclusion, you could argue that paint by numbers isn’t a true form of art. However, it still brought out the inner artist in all of us. Since art is, by definition, the visual expression of human imagination, even something as simple as painting between the lines has had the capacity to provoke powerful emotions.
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