Think about Laurel and Hardy for a moment, or Charlie Chaplin, and even Harold Lloyd. All true examples of early cinema genius. Today's DVDs offer the opportunity of not only watching these classics in their pure black and white format but also in the DVD provides a colorized version. Essentially although the colorized version never quite looks right, even though it's meant to look more modern and more realistic to late day cinema.
The point is this; these films were meant to be black and white because that was the level of technology of its day. But when you stand back and look at these films you can see that because the 'life' color is stripped away they have a sense become timeless and when viewed there is always something a bit special and different about them.
The same is true of a black and white painting, poster or photograph. A black and white photograph of an old wrinkly woman sitting by her doorstep is timeless, powerful and extremely though provoking. A picture of an old building or a city view in black and white has the same affect. Without color you tend to look more closely at the subject and see a level of detail and arguably emotion that you may never spot with full color. As mentioned before hanging on the subject a black and white piece of art is essentially timeless.
Nostalgia is time and again the word expressed when these images are viewed. This is why so many people opt for black and white art within the home. A happy home with a touch of nostalgia is a magic recipe.