By Mike Lander on
Pouch barn paintings were most common in Ohio during the early part of the 20th century. Painted on the side of barns and visible from passing roads were advertisements for Mail Pouch Tobacco. Farmers were paid a fee for the use of their barns in the advertisement of the tobacco. Nature abhors a vacuum and so these painted barn advertisements performed the same function as billboards at far less of a cost.
Presented here is a collection of barn paintings from Michigan not related to advertising at all but rather to the artistic designs of the artist (no pun intended). Some of these paintings seem to have a religious significance, and while we cannot identify these individuals there is one painting which is clearly that of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
These images have been included in our Creative collection. However, there is a gray area somewhere between what is considered to be creative and what can be classified as documentary. We believe that barn paintings belong to this gray area.