About Van Dyke Brown

From: Katharine Thayer ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 05/24/05-01:28:36 PM Z
Message-id: <42938058.1270@pacifier.com>

Guido Ceuppens wrote:
> Henk,
> I talked to Jean Jansis at the same show:
> - some of his prints are in the collectons of various museums
> - paper is Hahnemuehle "gravure"
> - cold water preshrink, 2 times
> - pigment is "Terre de Kassel" (Earth of Kassel?)

It's not, of course, my business what pigments this artist uses, and
it's not my purpose to scold or educate him by drawing attention to the
fugitive nature of the pigment (sometimes people deliberately use
fugitive pigments for reasons of their own, and I certainly have no
argument with that kind of conscious choice)-- I simply want to use the
occasion for a teachable moment, since you know I'll hardly ever pass up
an opportunity to say something about pigments.

Van Dyke Brown (NBr8) is one of a family of organic pigments, including
"Earth of Kassel," which are made from surface deposits of peat --
decayed wood and other plant material-- or brown coal, and are
unfortunately notoriously fugitive.

However, having said that, you should not be concerned if you have in
your paintbox a paint named "Van Dyke Brown" unless it's been around a
while and isn't clearly labeled as something other than NBr8, or
unless, if it's new, it came from Holbein (the only manufacturer still
using the fugitive pigment to make watercolor paint). Except for the
holbein paint, all paints currently manufactured under the name "Van
Dyke Brown" are not made from Van Dyke brown pigment. I'm looking at a
set of 17 swatches of paints called "Van Dyke Brown" which are made of
mixtures of different pigments, all of them perfectly lightfast. Since
they are all made from different combinations of pigments, their colors
range from near-black through brown to orange and red. They run exactly
the same gamut of hues as the "sepia" paints on the next page, which by
the same token are not sepia but are made of exactly the same
combinations of earth pigments and blacks as the "Van Dyke Browns" are
made of.

Katharine Thayer
Received on Tue May 24 20:24:17 2005

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