Fabrication of "handmade" oil colors.

Many new manufacturers of artists' oil paints claim that their products are "handmade".

But is this a valid claim ?

To feed or empty a machine by hand has, in effect, nothing to do with the real work immortalized in the painting by Charles Verlat, Director of the Royal Academy of Antwerp, which depicts my great-grandfather in the guise of a monkey* in his atelier around the year 1870.

In the painting, he leans against a glass surface of one square meter on which he has ground by hand, with a Muller clearly visible behind him, red pigment just received from China.

With the palette knife he holds in his right hand, he has applied the pigment on a sheet of glass in order to observe the transparency of the paint and without reflections.

In those days, a good craftman**, working 12 hours a day, could produce 12 tubes, each containing 20 ml of oil paint. Needless to say, there are no manufacturers today producing tubes of oil paint in this handmade way.

At our company, this type of manual work was replaced around 1920 by stone cylinders operated by hand. These cylinders rotate at a slow speed without heating or polluting the paint and thus duplicate, as much as possible, a handmade work. To our knowledge, BLOCKX is the only manufacturer today of artists 'oil paints that grinds pigments using stone cylinders and able to show it at work.

*250 worth of oil paints are offered to the first person who can explain why my great-grandfather is depicted in the guise of a monkey in the painting by Verlat. Send your response to info@blockx.be . The winner will be mentioned here.

** do you recognize by the apron the function of each worker?

Jacques Blockx

August 2011

The winner is John Nelson Idaho Falls who ask Blockx to offer the price to ‘a talented young painter who needs help’
The answer was that Verlat was an animal painter (exceptionally human)


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