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Victor Hugo Proetz papers, [ca. 1930]-1965

Proetz, Victor, 1897-1966  Search this
National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institution)  Search this
Architects  Search this
Interior decoration  Search this
Architecture  Search this
Interior decorators  Search this
Record number:
Communities, Organizations, Museums
Architecture & Design
Data Source:
Archives of American Art

Paint By Numbers Collection

Schiffman, Jacquelyn  Search this
Palmer Paint Company  Search this
5 Cubic feet (16 boxes)
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Sheet music
ca. 1934-1957.
Included are scrapbooks, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs, original artwork, advertising and promotional materials relating specifically to paint by numbers kits.
Scope and Contents:
Series 1: Advertising contains informational and visual materials of items marketed by Klein and Robbins, as well as, publishers montage items. These materials cover products such as Toleware, Craftmaster, Paint the Number and Palmer Paint.

Series 2: General Motors contains random information about the General Motors Corporation.

Series 3: Newspaper Articles contain newspaper clippings from various sources documenting the use and popular culture surrounding Paint-By-Numbers. These articles display advertisement and marketing campaigns used by Klein and Robbins.

Series 4: Photographs contains numerous images of the Paint By Number product from factory construction to exhibit designs, as well as, images of Max Klein, Arthur Godfrey and Jimmy Durante. One image is a demo personal portrait usage by Ike and Mamie Eisenhower.

Series 5: Sketch Transparency with color information (approx. 8.5" x 11") small contains unpainted sketches with transparencies.

Series 6: Blank Sketches with colored pictures (approx. 9.5" x 12") medium contains a series of matching blank sketches accompanied by a colored picture version.

Series 7: Blank Boards contains various numbered Paint-By-Number boards.

Series 8: Completed Paintings contains painted images of various. Series 9: Colored Picture with Sketch contains painted images of various scenes.

Series 10: Colored Pictures painted images of various images and scenes accompanied by transparencies and sketches.

Series 11: Blank Sketches contains blank imagine graphics laid out in typical Paint-By-Numbers scheme.

Series 12: Scrapbooks contains bound and loose leaf pages of materials pertaining to Paint-By-Number advertisement and popular culture.

Series 13: Paint-By-Numbers Kits contains materials used to package and market the Paint-By-Numbers product.

Series 14: Sheet Music contains a score composed by Frank and Dorothy Daniels regarding the possibilities of Paint-By-Number.
The collection is divided into 14 series.

Series 1: Advertising

Series 2: General Motors Materials Series 3: Newspaper

Series 4: Photographs Series 5: Sketch Transparency with color information small

Series 6: Blank Sketches with colored pictures (9.5 x 12) medium

Series 7: Blank Boards medium

Series 8: Completed Paintings

Series 9: Colored Picture with Sketch Series 10: Colored Pictures (medium)

Series 11: Blank Sketches (large) Series 12: Scrapbooks

Series 13: Paint-By-Numbers Kits Series 14: Sheet Music
Biographical / Historical:
The concept of paint by numbers was born in the forties when Max Klein, owner of the Palmer Paint Company of Detroit Michigan teamed up with artist Dan Robbins. Dan Robbins was a designer doing free lance artwork such as package designs and children's coloring pictures for Max Klein.

The paint by numbers kits were not a big success when Klein and Robbins attempted to sell them in 1949 under the Craft Master label.

Under the name of Craft Master they produced the first paint by numbers kits. After creating the first 30, Robbins hired artists to help him with the tedious task of making the outlines, creating transparent overlays, painting, printing and proofing artwork.

Both Klein's and Robbins wives spent time painting samples for Craft Master to test and display.

In 1959 Klein sold Craft Master which he set up as a separate company after the product became so successful. It has since gone through several ownerships.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Industry on Parade (NMAH.AC.0507)

Episode 188, May 1954, Every man a Rembrandt! demonstrates manufacturing painting sets with numbers. Palmer Paint Company, Detroit, Michigan.
Separated Materials:
Related objects located in the Division of Home and Community Life.
Collection donated by Jacquelyn Schiffman, 1997, September 21.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Art, American -- 1930-1960  Search this
Leisure -- United States  Search this
Painting -- 1930-1960  Search this
Layouts -- 1930-1960
Sheet music -- 1920-1960
Photographs -- 20th century
Paint By Numbers Collection, ca. 1934-1957, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Paint By Numbers Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
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