Schmincke artists’ colours – Finest quality for generations

For over 140 years, it has been our passionate goal to produce the finest and best artist colours adding a touch of colour to the world.

How it all began

Our long company history started back in 1881 when colour chemists Josef Horadam and Hermann Schmincke discovered the traditional resin-oil colour formulations of art professor Cesare Mussini in Florence. These unique colours rooted in the tradition of the old masters, significantly differed from the regular oil colours of that time, which were produced without resin content.

Based on these formulations we established our business under the name H. Schmincke & Co. in 1881 and named the first product “Mussini”. Years later, in 1892, Josef Horadam developed the liquid-poured watercolour bearing his name and obtained patents for them across Europe. Until today Mussini finest artists’ resin-oil colours and Horadam finest artists’ watercolours stand as globally renowned series of Schmincke.

Hermann Schmincke
Josef Horadam

Quality for all artists

We soon expanded our range of resin-oil colours to include smaller, specialised assortments for art professors. However, our aim was to make our quality accessible to a wider range of artists. Thus, we created a “standardised” range, more affordable but of the same quality – known today as NORMA Professional, the finest artists’ oil colours.

Under the second generation of owners with Dr. Julius Hesse, the finest soft pastels and an extensive gouache program found their way into the hands of artists, graphic designers and retouchers. After a pause forced by war the third generation led by Consul Ernst O. Hesse, introduced artist acrylic colours, initially developed in the USA, into our range. A new era of creativity began.

Ernst O. Hesse
Julius Hesse

Schmincke worldwide

With our 100th anniversary in 1981, we began to expand more and more throughout the world under Managing Director Peter Hesse. Mussini, Norma Professional, Horadam Watercolor and Pastel - all these top varieties found fans all over the world. With the newly developed Academy line, we created high-quality paints at a more affordable price in order to be able to serve a wider range of users with good paints.

But our history (chronicles) is not a story of past and tradition alone. It is a story of visions that are passed on with each generation. After Peter Hesse (active until 1999), it is now Managing Director Nils Knappe who is carrying on the legacy and leading the paints into the future.


Nils Knappe
Peter Hesse

Our Vision

We take pride in providing artists with the best materials to transform their creativity into art. The satisfaction of artists is both our inspiration and assurance. We believe that colours can make the world more beautiful and peaceful and we are proud to contribute to that. Our owl logo bears the founder’s motto “MELIORA COGITO – I strive for the best” and this motto accompanies us at every step of our journey to produce our artist colours.