PROSPECTOUS: Extra-Fine Gold Our range of 208 extra-fine oil colours offers the most extensive palette of colours in the world, with poppy oil being the principal binder of all our colours. This gives the paste a brilliant appearance, plus a creamy texture, and most importantly prevents your colours from yellowing with age.

However, it also provides opacity in certain colours, intensity, plus enduring resistance to light and aging.
The Charvin range of extra-fine oil colours may be used for traditional and Flemish-style painting techniques with the addition of various mediums. What is more, due to their rich texture they are suitable for raised, somewhat thickened painting, and above all for Plein Air painting.

The manufacturing process for Charvin oil colours is based on ancient recipes (established in 1830) that made it possible to make oil colours for such artists as Cezanne, Bonnard, and Ambrogiani.

Charvin Fine Silver Artists oils represent an excellent compromise between a quality oil and a good price-quality ratio. It should be noted that the difference between the Charvin ranges of fine and extra-fine oils is the grinding time – extra-fine oil is ground for twice as long as fine oil, while the process is adapted to suit each pigment. Each formula is adapted to suit the properties of each pigment, thus allowing you to use a wide range of textures: some creamy and opaque, others transparent and drier. Our fine oils are available in a single packaging option: 150ml tubes in 161 colours.

  • SELECTION EXTRA FINE_208 colors provides the largest selection of any manufacturer. 20ml, 60ml, and 150ml tubes
  • SELECTION FINE_161 colors in 150ml tubes
  • PROPRIETARY COLORS_More than anyone else
  • CONSISTENCY AND TEXTURE_Creamy texture in most colors but varies. Extra-Fine similar to Rembrandt, Fine similar to Williamsburg or Vasari
  • BINDERS_A mixture of Poppy Oil and Non-yellowing Linseed oil.
  • ADDITIVES_All manufacturers use a number of drying oils, binders, stabilizers and other additives in very small amounts depending on the chemistry of individual pigments.
  • PACKAGING_As good or better, tubes are heavy weight.
  • TOXICITY_The Extra-Fine line has the usually suspects, i.e. Cadmiums, the Fine Line has none.
  • TRANSLUCENCY_A ton of glazing potential
  • OPACITY/COVERAGE_Once again similar to Rembrandt which is excellent.
  • MIXABILITY/TINTING STRENGTH_Excellent with single pigments… many of the multiple pigment mixtures take some getting use too. The large number of convenience colors eliminates much of the mixing if you purchase the colors you mix a lot.
  • INTENSITY_Poppy Oil produces noticeably more intense, brighter cleaner colours similar to Safflower oil.
  • LIGHTFASTNESS_ This is a question mark for all of the brands tested. Most of them seem to push the envelope on lightfastness.
  • DRYING TIME_Poppy oil dries slower than Linseed oil which is a plus or a minus depending on how one works. Of course that is what alkyds are for.
  • AVAILABILITY_ Limited… Jerry’s Artarama exclusive. (they recently stopped carrying the Extra-Fine at retail.) Both are available from Jerry’s online.
  • CONS_They need to relabel for the US market because the names are extremely confusing, the French translations do not play well.
  • SYNOPSIS_ PROFESSIONAL GRADE_Our analysis of the Prospectus for Charvin Artist Oils is that it is pretty accurate. We do not know a lot about their history other than it has been around for some time. The advantage of Poppy Oil is that it produces more vivid, cleaner, non-yellowing colors. The Extra-Fine Oil Colours are certainly Professional Grade and for all intensive purposes so are Charvin’s Fine Oil Colours. Both preform as Professional-Grade paints and because of their huge selection of 150ml tubes a lot of professionals use them.
  • In our analysis, the only difference we noticed is that the Fine Oil Colours were not as buttery because they are milled less…most are still smooth and creamy right out of tubes. The only difference between the two lines that we are aware of is that the Charvin Fine Colours has eliminated the expensive minerals, i.e., Cadmiums, Cobalts, Ceruleans, et al. and replaced them with Modern Organics. The Charvin is certainly a player among professional grade pigments manufacturers. We were told that the pigment load of both the Extra-Fine and Fine is the same which seems to be the case. Of course modern organic pigments weight less than traditional inorganics so Cerulean Blue and Cerulean Blue hue will not weight the same. We will update this article once we have a chemical analysis. The Charvin Fine (Silver) comes in 150ml tubes and 161 colours, it is for all intents and purposes a professional grade paint and far superior to the Winton’s of the world. If one paints large and uses lot of paint Charvin would be worth experimenting with.

OVERVIEW:_The purpose of The Society of Figurative Arts Testing Reviews is the examination of the characteristics of professional-grade artists’ materials. The determination of which is better or best depends on the needs and preferences of the individual. Our mission is the support of professional-grade artist materials manufacturers and retailers and supplying Artists with the best information possible. We think this is particularly important at a time when hedge fund conglomerates are buying up brands by the dozens and reformulating products to maximize profits. There is also a good deal of misinformation afloat that requires righting the ship. We feel Painters need to know the characteristics of the products they are purchasing and using.
We have found very little that separates the top tier professional brands. The perceived differences in quality are based mainly on marketing hype. They are differences between brands, some subtle, and some distinct. Some brands share specific characteristics, and some do not. We will explain what the industry standard Extra-Fine refers to and the merits of single binders as opposed to binder recipes tuned to each color. We will discuss the merit of single pigment colors and various other aspects that affect one’s purchase decisions.
The determination of what is ‘best’ is the province of the Painter. They need to decide as to what works best for them.

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