Dan Robbins, the artist behind the paint-by-numbers craze that swept America, died in Sylvania, Ohio, at the age of 93, his son informed the Associated Press.
Robbins created many of his paintings from photographs he took of houses before they were painted by other artists. The original photos were then purchased by customers and numbers were put over the areas that needed painting. Painters would then cover those spots with color, leaving the rest of the photograph intact for future buyers to enjoy.
This idea came to Robbins while he was teaching art classes in his hometown of Cleveland. He noticed that some of his students had trouble making a living because there were too many people who wanted to sell their houses. So, he invented "The System," which is how he got the nickname "The Number One Artist in America."
The concept of a paint-by-numbers kit initially appeared in the 1950s. Dan Robbins, a commercial artist based in Detroit, produced these. For years, he worked in the art divisions of automobile manufacturers, but in 1949, his career took a different turn. He decided to start his own company and offer his products to consumers. The first Paint-by-Numbers kit was called "Famous Artists." It included paintings by John Alden Carpenter, Robert Henri, and George Luks. It sold for $10 plus shipping.
Paint-by-number kits are still available today. There are many variations of the theme, including sports kits, movie props, and even musical instruments. Each number panel is equipped with instructions on how to finish its corresponding painting. Then the customer takes the completed canvas to a professional painter, who completes the work from memory using the numbered panels as a guide.
Numbering systems have been used in various forms of media for centuries. They are often used in calligraphy, stained glass windows, frescos, and pottery. The oldest known painted number panel dates back to 1650 and is owned by the British Museum. It shows prices of animals for sale at a London market place.
Here's another interesting fact about this product: Many artists used their fame to promote other artists' works. John Alden Carpenter promoted himself with this product. So did Robert Henri.
Max S. Klein, proprietor of the Palmer Paint Company in Detroit, Michigan, and artist Dan Robbins, who originated the idea and painted many of the original paintings, are credited with popularizing the craze. Palmer Paint introduced paint-by-number kits under the Craft Master brand in 1951.
The company's founder, Max S. Klein, had been an art student at the University of Detroit when he came up with the concept. He believed that people could use their creativity if given simple instructions to work from. So, he created painting sets with pre-printed backgrounds and easy-to-follow instructions for coloring in the images.
Paint by number is now a common term for any kit that is designed to be completed without professional help. These kits often include sheets of pre-printed canvas or paper to which the user adds color by means of a paintbrush or other painting tool. The first set of its kind was called "Artists' Color Box," and it included colors within the palette of famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, and Henri Matisse. This set was sold by Craftsman Products in 1951.
Palmer's "Craft Master" series grew out of the need for quality, affordable gifts for friends and family.
Portrait of a Man, 1519 1519, said to be Christopher Columbus (born in 1446, died 1506). Italian Sebastiano del Piombo (Sebastiano Luciani). This highly damaged picture of Christopher Columbus was painted in Rome by one of the great Venetian painters of the High Renaissance. The work dates from around 1519 and is now in the Uffizi Gallery.
Columbus was born in Genoa but grew up in Spain, where his father had been appointed governor of the island of Hispaniola (today's Haiti and the Dominican Republic). He became interested in sailing at an early age and, when his father died when Columbus was only 24 years old, he decided to seek his fortune as a voyager. He first sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to Cuba and then went on to Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, discovering new lands along the way. During his lifetime he has become one of the most famous men in history, so it isn't surprising that people all over the world want to see pictures of him. Unfortunately, most of the portraits we have of him are fake - they were created by an Italian artist named Sebastiano del Piombo in the late 1510s or early 1520s. However, two drawings by Columbus's son Ferdinand are real artifacts from his time.
Because of its fame and importance, this painting has been copied many times over the centuries.
From 1918 to 1924, he painted in the Algoma region, on the north coast of Lake Superior from 1921 to 1928, in the Rocky Mountains from 1924, and in the Arctic in 1930. Art, according to Harris, was meant to reflect spiritual ideals as much as to portray the visible world. He found inspiration in the wilderness around him.
Harris's paintings are known for their luminous colors and subtle textures. He used a variety of media including oil on canvas, ink on paper, and pen and ink drawings. Many of his works use only white space to create images that seem to come directly from nature. Others include imaginary animals that sometimes reveal themselves upon close inspection to be maps of northern regions or guides to hidden treasures. Still others feature biblical subjects. Although he was not formally trained as an artist, his work is considered one of the founding fathers of modernist painting in Canada.
After graduating from high school in 1919, Harris worked as a carpenter to support himself while he painted in his spare time. In 1922, he moved to Montreal where he lived for six years before moving back to Northern Ontario. There, he established himself as one of the leading artists of his time. In 1928, he sold all his artwork for $10,000 and traveled with this money to Spain where he spent three months painting in Majorca. Upon his return to Canada, he never again left the country.
On May 31, 2012, John Howard Sanden joined a nearly as elite club: the painters who have painted those presidents. Sanden is a sought-after portrait artist (The New Yorker once named him "the man who makes moguls look nice"), but his otherwise superb portfolio had a huge blank. Until now.
It turns out that there is a whole gallery of presidential portraits hanging in Washington, D.C., that has been filled in by future generations of artists. And Sanden is about to join it, with a painting of George W. Bush.
The picture is expected to be unveiled at an event on June 20 at the Kenwood Academy for Arts and Education in Washington, D.C. Tickets are available here starting at $50, which includes food and drink.
In case you're wondering, yes, Obama is next. Sanden has already begun work on his image.