Hottest Toy For Christmas 2019 For Boys 10 Years Old Wallace Nutting Hand – Colored Photographs

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Wallace Nutting Hand – Colored Photographs

Wallace Nutting sold a number of hand-colored photographs during the American 1900-1940s.The golden age of hand-colored photography” than any other photographer of his time. It is estimated that between 5,000,000-10,000,000 of his pictures graced the walls of middle-class American homes during the early 20th century. Why was Wallace Nutting so successful? And why are his pictures still widely collected today?This article provides a basic introduction to the world Wallace Nutting Pictures.

Shortly after 1900, Wallace Nutting retired from the ministry due to ill health (he was a Congregational minister in Providence RI at the time). As part of his recovery, he began touring the New England countryside by carriage or automobile, photographing rural New England. Nutting was one of the first to realize that the American scene was changing. Industrialization changed the look of our country and our clean and picturesque landscape will never look the same again. He seemed to feel his divine calling to record the beauty of America for future generations.

Beginning first in Vermont, then Massachusetts and Connecticut, and eventually the rest of New England, Nutting began photographing country roads, streams, rivers, lakes, orchards, flowers, birch trees, and mountains. Wallace Nutting would take a photo, give it a title, and instruct his colorists how to tint it by hand. Any painting that met Nutting’s high standards of color, composition and taste would be pasted onto a backing and signed by his employees with the distinctive “Wallace Nutting” name. (He hardly ever signed pictures himself). Those pictures that did not meet his exacting standards were destroyed. Beginning first with outdoor scenes (Exterior) in New England, Nutting eventually traveled throughout the United States and Europe, photographing in 26 states and 17 foreign countries between 1900 – 1935. In all, he took more than 50,000 photographs, 10,000 of which he considered to meet his high standards.The balance was destroyed.

Around 1905, Nutting began running his first closed (Interior) Images. It is said that one day, while it was raining outside, Mrs. Nutting suggested that he take more “Beautiful” picture indoors. So he set up a colonial scene, near the kitchen fireplace, had an employee dress up in colonial fashion, and took several different photographs. These sold relatively easily, prompting him to expand more into this area .Nutting’s love of antiques, his passion for the Pilgrim period, and his unquestionable desire to turn a profit led him to eventually purchase and restore five colonial homes:

  • The Webb HouseWethersfield, CT
  • Wentworth-Gardner HousePortsmouth, NH
  • Cutler-Bartlett HouseNewburyport, MA
  • Hazen-Garrison HouseHaverhill, MA
  • Saugus Iron Works (Broadhearth)Saugus, MA

Nutting bought these houses because he felt that each represented a different period of early colonial American style and taste. He was here, along with his own homes Nuttingham (Southbury, CT) and Nuttingholme (Framingham, MA), that most of his interior images were taken. Nutting’s desire to ensure the most correct and appropriate settings for his Interior the sights guided him in his quest to amass one of the finest collections of early American furniture ever assembled. He would use the best examples of early American furniture in his Interior scene and, when he couldn’t find it, he would play it. (We’ll focus on his reproduction furniture in the next article).

Working in Southbury CT from 1905 to 1912 and then in Framingham MA from 1912 until his death in 1941, Nutting sold literally millions of his hand-colored photographs. He claims to have sold around 10,000,000 paintings although, knowing his habit of exaggeration, that number is probably quite high.

Whatever the real number was, it was big. Wallace Nutting’s paintings are sometimes called “footprints of the poor“. Sold throughout the first quarter of the 20th century, long before the invention of color photography, these paintings initially sold for literally pennies. His market was primarily the middle and lower middle class…those households that could not afford finer forms of art. Because of their low price, Wallace Nutting’s paintings were bought in large numbers. By 1925, hardly any middle-class American household was without one as they were bought as gifts for weddings, showers, Christmas, birthdays, and any what other conceivable reason.

Nutting sold many paintings directly through his studios where he also provided his own framing services. But he also sold his paintings in many other outlets: department stores, drugstores and gift shops, all over the country. He even had full-time street vendors whose sole job was to sell his paintings to these retail outlets. Sellers who, he claims, have sold enough paintings to enjoy a nice retirement themselves.

The peak of the popularity of Wallace Nutting’s painting was in 1915-25. During this time, Nutting employed nearly 100 colorists, along with another 100 employees who acted as frames, operations, sales, management and various administrative office staff. Make no mistake…Wallace Nutting’s paintings were big business. But by the late 1920s, people began to tire of Wallace Nutting. As with any other fashion or style, tastes began to change over time. Wallace Nutting’s paintings became passé and sales showed a steady decline. Not even the introduction of different matting styles, greeting cards, pencil silhouettes and lower cost machine-made processes could rejuvenate sales.

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing economic crisis all but sealed the fate of Wallace Nutting’s film business. Although it remained in operation even after his death, production was insignificant after the early 1930s. Over the years, millions of Wallace Nutting paintings have probably been thrown away. Many of those that remain show signs of 60-90 years of wear after being stored in attics and basements, with water stains, broken glass, dust, dirt and mold.

As the original owners of Wallace Nutting paintings aged or passed on, their Wallace Nutting paintings were also passed down to another generation. Some were donated directly, others were inherited by children and grandchildren. Those that were not passed down to families were sold at auctions, estate sales, label sales and flea markets where they re-entered mainstream collecting during the 1975-2000 period.

What are collectors looking for? Just like in Wallace Nutting’s time, External scenes have the widest appeal. Interior scenes have a more limited appeal, but since they are rarer, they tend to command a higher price than External scenes. However, we saw it as an American fascination.”Earth” appearance has decreased over the last 5-10 years, interest in Nutting’s Interior scenes also softened.

The most desirable paintings for serious walnut collectors are Various unusual scenes. These are non-standard images Interior and External scenes: Architecture, children, flowers, strangers, men, seascapes, snow scenes and a few selected geographical rarities. Nutting’s original sales in these categories were significantly lower than his own External and Interior scenes, therefore their “rarity” attracts collectors. As in other areas of collecting, the rarest specimens, in the best condition, are the easiest to sell, regardless of price. But just as important as rarity and theme is state. Collectors want pieces in excellent condition, and imperfections such as water spots, stains, poor paint or damaged frames can significantly reduce value.

As of 2010, the auction record for a hand-colored photograph by Wallace Nutting is $9,300.00, which is quite reasonable in the world of expensive antiques and collectibles. However, as the economy softened, so did Wallace Nutting prices and perhaps 90% of Wallace Nutting paintings sell in today’s market for less than $150-200. And many can be had for $50-$75 or less. Which means if you value Wallace Nutting Pictures, this is probably the best time to buy them in 25 years.

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