About Schmincke

"Meliora cogito" - "I strive for the best"

Since 4 generations the traditional Schmincke-goal is making and providing the very best finest artists' colours for demanding artists. In 1881 Josef Horadam and Hermann Schmincke, affiliated through their wives, searched and found traditional resin-oil-colour recipes, almost lost during the last period before the invention of the metal tube. (Without tight containers like tubes the resin-oil-colours could not be durably kept while painting outside).

At the Academy in Florence, Professor Cesare Mussini (never painting outside) still preserved old family recipes of finest natural resin-oil-colours. They became the initial and immediately successful exclusive program of the colour-manufacturing plant founded by the two chemist colour-men H. Schmincke and J. Horadam, while others continued to make the more simple oil-colours without resins as they became used to before the invention of tubes.

lt took Josef Horadam 11 years after the founding of the Schmincke-factory in 1881 to research, develop and further improve "his" watercolour-line to top the watercolours, invented earlier in England. In 1892 he received his first Prussian patent for his "HORADAM Patent-Aquarellfarben", followed by patents in several other European countries like France and Hungaria.

Still today MUSSINI® finest dammar-resin-oil-colours and HORADAM® AQUARELL, finest watercolours are the strongest and most renowned legs of the Schmincke program of finest artists' colours.

Of course the whole program is permanently adapted and further improved benefiting especially from newer superb developments of the pigment research world-wide. Less costly but still finest "normal" small oil colour-assortments for the high-class teaching needs of various academy-professors were soon harmonised, rationalised, "normalised" into a relatively shorter but still "finest" Norma® oil-colour assortment (todays Norma® Professional finest oil-colour-line). Those Norma® Professional finest artists' oil colours, comparable to other first leading brands worldwide, allow Schmincke to directly compete with the other leading brands without the need to communicate with users as to the superiority of the most traditional dammar-resin-oil-colours MUSSINI®.

Around the turn of the century, under the leadership of the second owner-generation, the founders nephew Dr. Julius Hesse, finest soft pastels and a vast program of Gouache-colours for artists, designers and photo-retouchers were introduced. All became famous in their category.

After war-related pauses, the third generation, Consul Ernst 0. Hesse, who remained actively engaged in Schmincke until his death in 1992, introduced finest artists' acrylic colours. Under the brand name PRIMAcryl® those modern artists colours, first invented in the USA, became an important addition to the assortment, especially in the German home-market.

100 year Schmincke jubilee in 1981

After moving to a newly built factory in 1974 and even more so after the 100 year Schmincke jubilee in 1981, global expansion-activities intensified, especially with the leading Schmincke brands MUSSINI®, NORMA® Professional, HORADAM® AQUARELL and soft pastels. In 1999 a short but most refined HORADAM® GOUACHE program is being added as well as specialities like Calligraphy-Gouache.

In December 1998 the representative of the fourth owner generation, president of Schmincke since 1971, Consul Peter Hesse, handed the task of managing Schmincke over to a carefully selected successor: Nils Knappe.

Goals, philosophy and strategy

The philosophy, goals, objectives and the Schmincke-strategy remain, however, co-carried by the owner-family and directed to a global market for top quality traditional artists' colours. In their home-markets Schmincke also offers a full range of additional bench-mark products for demanding artists. A side-goal was always and remains to supply not only top quality products but also equivalent customer-service.

The Schmincke goal, to supply the very best artists' colours, is not only a pleasure for all who are involved, because a particularly beautiful program results, it is also commercially viable, because it secures a long-term niche in the global quality-market. This is considered more important than short term profit.

The artists' satisfaction motivates us. Those who donate their valuable time to creative activities usually wish to use best possible material. We believe in the artists' desire for top quality material, we work to satisfy this desire in partnership with our qualified and specialised retailers. They keep our vast-program in their stock and give advice.

Therefore we are faithful to our retailer-customers.Schmincke wants to contribute to a beautiful colourful world - with the best artists' colours.

This complements our founding-forefathers motto: "MELIORA COGITO - I strive for the best".