The Real Nitty Gritty behind the Heritage Lore of Leading Paint Manufacturers. FACT OR FICTION?

OLD HOLLAND 1664:_ In 1664 the members of the Guild of Saint Luke in The Hague set up the ‘Painters’ confraternity Pictura and the Academy of Fine Arts’  in The Hague. They start making their own paint. The beginnings of Old Holland._Owned by the de BEERS family.

  • Old Holland would have one believe they have been around since oil painting was invented. In reality, the company founded in the 20th century after purchasing the equipment from a defunct company started in the 19thc. They were not members nor did they have any affiliation with the Guild of Saint Luke and certainly no part of the Guild went by the name Old Holland. ‘The paint of the Old Masters is a fairy tale.’
  • ‘Although Old Holland is not really the paint of the old masters, I think it is still fair to credit the company for its traditional paintmaking techniques. The manufacturers of Old Holland Oils have gone to a great deal of trouble to recreate a traditional paint in the style that the old masters might have used, using traditional ingredients (such as cold press linseed oil) and manufacturing techniques (stone ground pigments), even though they are much more expensive for making paint than modern techniques would be. Of course, they do use modern organic and inorganic pigments that were not available in the 17th century.’ 

LEFRANC & BOURGEOIS 1720:_The Lefranc & Bourgeois’s story began in 1720 when Charles Lefranc began producing colors by chance. He started to supply paints to Chardin, an artist who lived above the family shop_it should be pointed out that once the screw cap metal tube was invented in 1841 the formulation of oil paints changed dymatically_Owned by the holding company COLART.

Winsor Newton 1832:_Winsor & Newton is founded at 38 Rathbone Place_William Winsor introduces glass syringes to replace bladders as oil color containers._They were also the first to package their colors in screw-top metal tubes which changed the way paint was made forever and makes prior formulations seemingly irrelavent_Winsor & Newton was absorbed by COLART which closed its London Factory in 2012 and moved the company to France, WN as we knew it ended at that time_Owned by the holding company COLART.

BLOCKX 1865:_Five generations of chemists in the Blockx family have been working since 1865 to perfect the Blockx Oil Colors. Today, Jacques Blockx IV and his daughter Catherine Blockx (Generation V) carry on this great tradition. Their workshop in Belgium resembles a winemaker’s chateau more than a modern industrial factory. Together, they produce color in the tradition of the Flemish masters_As stated above owned and operated by the BLOCKX family.

Schmincke 1881:_In 1881 Josef Horadam and Hermann Schmincke, searched and found traditional resin-oil-color recipes, almost lost during the last period before the invention of the metal tube. (Without tight containers like tubes the resin-oil-colors could not be durably kept while painting outside)._Closed during WWII_Owned by the holding company Chartpak

Sennelier 1887:_Gustave Sennelier opened the doors of the Maison Sennelier at 3 Quai Voltaire in 1887. This Parisian landmark faces the Louvre on the Left Bank, just around the corner from the École des Beaux-Arts. Artists like Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, Bonnard, Soutine, Picasso, Modigliani, Kandinsky, and Dali made this place a historic rendezvous. A place where the most celebrated names could find the finest colors available for artists._Owned and Operated by the SENNELIER family_Since Blockx, and Schmincke were closed during WWII and WN, and Lefranc are now owned by a Holding Company, Sennelier becomes the oldest continuously family-owned and operated Color manufacturer in Europe

Rembrandt 1899:_The history of Royal Talens goes back to 1899. In that year Marten Talens founded the “Dutch Factory for Paints, Lacquers, and Inks” in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn_Has been owned by Sakura Color Products Corporation since 1991, a privately held company. Because the ownership is private the focus on quality has remained constant. We have toured their factory in Apeldoorn and have seen this commitment to quality first hand.

Maimeri 1923:_1923 saw the birth of one of the very first factories in Italy to manufacture artists’ paints and varnishes: Fratelli Maimeri. The company was founded on the combination of artistic interests and techniques of the painter, Gianni Maimeri (1884 – 1951) and his brother’s chemical knowledge (Carlo Maimeri, 1886 – 1957). The project to set up an artists’ paints factory and the preliminary agreements came about at the same time the original site was chosen_Owned by the Holding Company FILA 

SYNOPSIS:_Holding companies are where tradition ends and brands go to die. The leaves Old Holland which has a much shorter heritage than claimed but still has some. Blockx has a lengthy heritage only interrupted by war. Rembrandt is privately owned and maintained a large degree of its heritage, and Sennelier which is the oldest continuously family-owned and operated paint manufacturer in Europe.

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