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Every Man a Rembrandt

Old 08-18-2011, 02:45 AM
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Every Man a Rembrandt
Propelled by postwar prosperity, increased leisure time, and the democratic idea that anyone might paint a picture, paint by number became a popular pastime in the early 1950s. Each paint-by-number kit included two brushes and up to ninety premixed, numbered paints ready to be applied to numbered spaces on an accompanying canvas or board. As the spaces were filled in, the gradual revelation of a picture surprised and delighted.
For critics, the paint-by-number phenomenon provided ample evidence of the mindless conformity gripping national life and culture. "I don't know what America is coming to," one writer complained to American Artist, "when thousands of people, many of them adults, are willing to be regimented into brushing paint on a jig-saw miscellany of dictated shapes and all by rote. Can't you rescue some of these souls-or should I say 'morons'?"
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