Peter Hunt Paint Decorated Side Table Appraisal
The first Martha Stewart?
Thank you for sending me an image of your Peter Hunt paint decorated side table. It is a great example of the artist’s work and is signed and dated 1946.
Hunt (1896–1967) was a fascinating man. Born in a tenement in New Jersey to artistic parents, he later moved to Provincetown, Mass., and mythologized his arrival in telling people that he came on a yacht and he found new celebrity in his fanciful artistic work.
He was soon known for his colorful depictions based on the Germanic tradition of paint decoration of Pennsylvania furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries. He established shops in Provincetown called the Peasant Village and catered to the wealthy summer crowd. His work gained attention from some prominent patrons and was featured in stores such as Bloomingdale's and Gimbels and advertised in House Beautiful and Life magazines.
Hunt wrote books and recognized the importance of recycling and refreshing older furniture not only for the beach cottage, but for life. For many, he was the first Martha Stewart of the time, taking furniture without much antique value and revitalizing it for modern décor. Tables, chests of drawers, chairs, stools, trays and boxes were always his canvas. During World War II he recognized the need of the nation and of clients to conserve and re-purpose furniture to stay in style. Hunt did this by decorating neglected pieces in ways that were both fashionable, artistic and economical.
Sadly, his work became less desirable and he left Provincetown in 1959 and re-located to Orleans trying to keep the business alive. Soon, as most every fashion, his went out of style, but is now making a comeback. Your table is a great example of his work and appears to have been cut down in height from a larger 1940s version side table, the corners rounded and of course the paint decoration that only Hunt could produce. The colors in yours happen to be more muted by choice and from wear, but it is a nice example that fits nicely even with contemporary design.
We often have pieces by Peter Hunt for sale in our shop and I invite you to visit. Presently, we have a marine painting show running through September with some works by his contemporaries. I would value your Peter Hunt decorated table at $800.