I don’t know about you but when I think of vintage art, one of the first things that pops into my mind are paint by numbers. We have all seen them, those little kits with the canvas that has light blue or gray lines with numbers inside of them. The cute little plastic paint packets with just the perfect shade of blue for your sky.
They are one of my favorite finds when I am hunting…they are so quirky and vintage. I started to wonder who ever came up with this idea and what are the most popular selling images.
According to an article I found, the idea was the brain child of Dan Robbins and Max Klein at Palmer Paint in Detroit in the 1950’s. After reading that da Vinci trained his apprentices by numbering patterns on canvas for them to paint, the kits were born. Eventually called “Craft Master” these kits by Robbins and Klein eventually sold 12 million copies.
Because of their mid-century popularity, the Smithsonian actually had an exhibit in 2001 featuring many of the kits.
Love them or hate them….they made “Every Man a Rembrandt”.
(the Asian Paint by Number from above is in my Etsy shop here)