Tinsel pictures are reverse paintings on glass against a background of crumpled foil. This scene with a cream colored background features a blue woven basket standing on a red and green table mat. It's overflowing with fruit and ornamented with grape leaves and tendrils. The paint colors twinkle against the silvery shine of the foil behind them. As with other forms of folk art, tinsel pictures can be artistic---or very amateurish. This one shows talent and is quite reminiscent of an earlier art form, the theorem. Although tinsel art became popular in America in the 1800's, during the Great Depression hand made folk art like this charming painting would have been an economical way to add sparkle to a home.
The frame is 1/2 inch wide wood in an Art Deco style, circa 1930. It was painted gold, somewhat worn now, adding to the vintage look. It measures approximately 6 inches by 8 inches. The backing, obviously hand done, is intact; there are two screw eyes tied with old string that serves for hanging. Its petite size also allows it to be easily propped on an easel, stand or shelf. The painting itself is in good condition, with scattered tiny spots of missing paint but no peeling. Some of our photos show the background color as white, but it is definitely a creamy shade. This tinsel painting is a wonderful piece of American folk art.