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EG Barnhill 30s Florida Print Old Spanish Mission House

EG Barnhill 30s Florida Print Old Spanish Mission House
Here is a vintage E.G. Barnhill print. It is of an Old Spanish mission house at waters edge with cranes. There is room on the side for a message if it was to be used as  a greeting card but that area is blank. The signature is at the bottom left. The print measures  7 " By 4 1/2". Printed in Saxony Germany. Mint!
This is a wonderful little old Florida print of one of Mr Barnhills hand painted photographs and commissioned by the artist himself. Printed by one of the finest companies in Germany at the time in Saxony between 1914 and 1932. The muted colors are  just beautiful and the print would look great framed alone or in a group. Reminds me so much of the "Highwaymen"paintings  we used to be able to buy traveling to Florida in the 50s. The print is 7" X 4.5".
    EG Barnhill is a highly collectable Florida artist. This card is signed in the lower left corner. Mr. Barnhill worked with Edward Curtis, the famous Seminole Indian photographer. Barnhill had a museum in St. Petersburg. On the back of each card, it says: "PRINTED IN SAXONY". The best color printing presses were located in Germany, The card is very old, but in MINT condition. No rips, no tears, no marks,or stains.  I was fortunate to acquire a few of these -- all Florida scenes -- as  new old stock from a gentleman who purchased the entire collection in Sorrento Florida after Mr Barnhills death. I will be listing them regularly until I run out , so check my listings for combined shipping .

E.G. Barnhill's Handpainted Photographs

Stories & Photos by: Julia Burton Taube

As seen in The Antique Shoppe Newspaper, June 2007

In the early 1900's Florida's lush tropical beauty was embellished by the vibrant sunsets reflected in the pristine waters.  Many think that this unspoiled magnificence no longer exists, lost forever amid Florida's booming development.  However, detailed windows of this era remain in the unique photographic art of E. G. Barnhill.   

By 1914 tourists were clamoring to visit Florida's splendor and many wanted a souvenir of the pure panoramas as a keepsake of their adventures.  Though there are several known Florida traveling photographers, it was E. G. Barnhill who recorded the raw splendor and lavishly hand painted his photos using the often flamboyant colorations found in the Florida sky.  Between about 1911 through about 1930, Esmond G. Barnhill, grasped the soul of Florida.  

Born in 1894 in Saluda, South Carolina, Barnhill moved to Florida in about 1914 as an adventurer, where he hunted treasure, and developed a keen interest in photography.  As a traveling photographer, Barnhill explored the state and even ventured to the Caribbean.  Today approximately 50 of his hand colored photographic scenes survive.  These photos allow us a rare window into the untouched wilderness of early Florida.  

Prior to the development and availability of color film in about 1936, photography existed mostly as monochrome, or one color.  In order to make their photographs "come alive" artist began adding hand coloring or hand tinting their black and white photos.  Coloring mediums included oils, dyes, and water colors.  Barnhill used water colors which were more stable than dyes and not as opaque as oils.  He also used a technique known as gold toning to create an enchanting glow to his master pieces.  

Barnhill's hand colored photos have a distinct style.  His colors are vibrant, bold and deep.  Many reflect such heavy water color accents that they could easily pass for the work of a listed artist's water color landscape.   His works hold passion and drama.  He favored views featuring lush green tropics or flamboyant sunsets.  His landscapes range in size from 2" x 3" to 11" x 14".  His work was infrequently close framed and more often sold unframed.  Barnhill also specialized in greeting cards and postcards, the earliest of which were printed in Germany marked Saxony.  Some of his colorations are almost neon, and border on fantasy.  Most of his work is signed "EGB" Or "E. G. Barnhill".   Today his post cards range in price from $3.00 to $50.00.  His landscape works sell at about $25.00 for the small pieces and upwards of $500.00 for large more rare photos.   

Prior to his move to Florida, Barnhill opened a trading post in Colorado specializing in Indian treasurers.  During his stay he met and studied with the renowned Indian and Wild West photographer Edward S. Curtis.  From Curtis he learned to create a gold tone process to accent some of his photos.   Goldtoning is a delicate method requiring hand painting on glass using uranium dye.  Gold tones have often been defaced or destroyed by the Florida humidity.  Due to the fragile nature of this process very few still exist.  Those that remain often sell for $700. to $1200. 

Hand colored or tinted photos by Barnhill also survive in the works of another traveling Florida artist and photographer, J. R. Wilcox.  Wilcox who painted and photographed from about 1880 to his death in 1910 was known for his art featuring Florida Waterways and abundant tropics.  In 1915 Barnhill purchased the remaining art and prints from the Wilcox estate.  The photographs of each artist are similar in content however; their perception of color was very different.  Barnhill chose colors of passion and dramatic hues.  Wilcox favored the softer almost muted impressionistic style.  Barnhill actually colored many of the remaining prints belonging to Wilcox.  At times Barnhill would sign the photos "Wilcox" and "1890".  His handwriting is perpendicular.  An authentic signature J. R. Wilcox leans noticeably to the left.

The water colors of Wilcox can sell for over $1,000.  His colored prints range in value from $25.00 to $590.00. 

Barnhill's work is slowly being discovered as an art market.

Yet, it still remains modestly priced making it desirable as a collectible.  Through his eyes we have a glimpse into the magnificent Florida of 100 years ago. 

He refined the art of capturing on film breathtaking and extraordinary Florida scenes.  Using water color he lavishly adorned each photograph with a generous palette of the brilliant coloration found only in Florida's tropics.  Each work of art remains alive and moving as if there will be a continuation of the setting sun or dapples in the movement of the windblown trees and gentle swaying of moss.   Looking at the fairy-tale magic Barnhill depicts, it is easy to speculate that the mystical allure created in road side souvenir paintings by the Florida Highwaymen was actually inspired by the work of Esmond Barnhill.  

Esmond G. Barnhill  1891-1987
Esmond G. Barnhill was born on the small North Carolina town of Saluda on March 1st, 1894.  As a child he became an avid collector of American Indian artifacts which led to a lifelong passion for archeology and treasure hunting.
By his late teen Barnhill had developed a keen interest in photography and he soon joined the ranks of traveling photographers.  By 1914 he had made his way to Florida settling in St. Petersburg.  His first shop was called the Florida Photo Studio and was located at Third Street North and Tenth Avenue.  Like Harris, he began by selling post cards and colored pictures.
Before coming to Florida Barnhill tried his hand as an “Indian Trader” in Estes Park, Colorado, where he opened a curio shop specializing in American Indian artifacts and Native American crafts.  While there he met and worked with renowned photographer Edward Curtis.  It was Curtis who introduced him to tinting images, specifically to a process call “goldtoning”. This was done by coloring the photographic images on the glass negative with special uranium dyes.  When this stage was completed, the back of the glass was covered in a gold foil like sealant, which gave it a golden glow that seemed to illuminate the picture.  Most of Barnhill’s goldtone images are titled on the back and bear the date 1914.  This date may not reflect the actual year he finished the picture, as Barnhill postdated much of his work.  Still, these images are among his earliest Florida works and date around 1914 to the early 1920’s.  About this time Barnhill began hand tinting printed copies of his photographs.  He had used the Albertype Company in New York to publish his postcards and probably used them to replicate his uncolored prints.  While Harris tinted his pictures using an airbrush, Barnhill chose to use hand applied water colors.  This method resulted in the rich undiluted colors common to his prints.  They came in a variety of sizes ranging from 2” x 5 1/2” to 9” x 10” and some were matted in the same fashion as Harris prints with Barnhill’s signature and picture title in opposing corners at the bottom of the image.
Like Harris, he preferred Florida landscapes over other subjects, but he did offer a line of greeting cards featuring Ft. Marion in St. Augustine.  Most of Barnhill’s hand colored prints and greeting cards date from circa 1920. to circa 1932.
In 1915 Barnhill purchased the remaining prints of James Ralph Wilcox, a Florida landscape photographer and picture colorist who had died that year at the age of forty-nine.  Wilcox’s studio was in Seabreeze (no Daytona) and well stocked with Florida landscape prints, both tinted and untinted.  Though ?Wilcox’s landscapes were similar to Barnhill’s his concept of coloration was noticeably different.  Barnhill chose bold contrasting colors while Wilcox’s work reflected softer, more muted tones.  Many of Wilcox’s untinted prints were hand colored by Barnhill.  He even signed Wilcox’s name and added the date 1890.  This is particularly curious as Wilcox first visited Florida in 1902, but didn’t move to the state until 1905.  Still, it is fairly easy to tell the signatures apart. Wilcox signed his name with a distinct tilt to the left, while the Barnhill forgeries are perpendicular.
By 1937 Barnhill was no longer listed as a photographer in the St. Petersburg city directory, but he was still registered as owning the Barnhill Camera Shop dn selling photographic equipment supplies.  By the mid-1930’s Barnhill’s business began to shift from photography to photographic supplies but the change was relatively shortlived, as there was no mention of Barnhill in the directories after 1936.  Instead his wife, Helen, appeared as owner of a gift shop.  By 1938 Helen still owned her shop but was listed as living in Dania, Florida, probably delegating day to day business to one of her two sons.
this information places the Barnhills in Dania in 1938.  Around W.W.II Barnhill decided to open another Indian Trading Post similar to his first one in Colorado, this time in Wisconsin Delle, Wisconsin.  He ran this during the summer until 1959.  This was followed by another trading post in Booths Bay Harbor, Maine, and another in Indian Springs, Georgia.  In 1953 Barnhill opened an attraction called Ancient America in Boca Raton, Florida.  This closed in 1958.  From her he moved to Palm Bay, Florida, new Cocoa, where established a museum to exhibit his collection of artifacts and private treasure’s.
He final roadside venture was the Indian Museum and Trading Post opened in 1970 near Kissimmee, Florida.  He chose this location because of its proximity to the soon to be opened Disney World.  The business closed in the mid 1980’s and Barnhill moved to North Georgia.  He died in 1987 at the age of ninety three.
It appears that most of Barnhill’s pictures were produced from 1914-1930.  Though he didn’t have the variety of pictures Harris did, he produced a much greater volume.  For some reason much of his stock never sold, and when his estate was liquidated, a large number of his prints were discovered and purchased by local antique dealers.  Because of this circumstance,. the bulk of his work remains in Florida and can still be found in a few shops from the central part of the state to Palm Beach.
Barnhill was a consummate blend of artist, adventurer, and entrepreneur.  He traveled Florida, The caribbean Islands, and Panama in search of artifacts and treasures.  What began as a photographic enterprise evolved into a series of Indian trading post museum road side attractions.  These in turn drew the curious tourists to buy his prints, postcards, and other souvenirs that collectors seek today.

I accept Paypal as well as most other forms of payment.

Shipping within the US is $1.50 Shipping for additional Barnhill prints will be FREE.

International shipping is $2.50. Shipping for additional Barnhill prints will be FREE.

See my other vintage Barhhill prints this week for combined shipping.
(Wait for my invoice, as the one you receive may not reflect the shipping discount. If you do overpay for shipping on the invoice I will simply refund the shipping difference with Paypal)

Please understand that I only go to the post office once a week. However, if for any reason you do need the item quickly , let me know by email and I will be happy to make an extra trip to the post office in order to speed up your delivery. Thanks for your understanding.....

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