Liquitex’s story begins with Henry Levison, a color chemist who lived, drank, slept and breathed artist’s colors. Henry ran a company in Cincinnati, Ohio called Permanent Pigments which had been milling artists’ oil colors since 1933. He was keenly following the latest technical advances and experimenting with new formulas in the acrylics field. Acrylics were first developed as a solvent-based artists’ color in the early part of the twentieth century. By 1955, Henry had perfected a commercially viable water-based acrylic – the first acrylic gesso, called Liquitex, a perfect blend of liquid and texture.
Liquitex High Viscosity Artist Color is developed in 1963. This formula has an oil paint-like consistency and is the world’s first heavy bodied, water-based acrylic color. Gel Medium is launched in the same year. By 1965, we’re educating. The Liquitex Lecture Demonstration Program begins, delivering the first artist to artist program in colleges and universities in the U.S. A range of acrylic tips & techniques literature is developed to accompany the session. In 1967, we create the world’s first removable acrylic varnish, the forerunner of today’s Soluvar.
At the start of the decade, Henry Levison unveils the first machine to test paint for lightfastness, changing the way paints are formulated and selected. In 1971 we launch the art world’s first acrylic cadmium replacement colors (renamed cadmium ‘Hues’ in 1980), as well as Slow-Dri Medium.
Liquitex becomes the first paint to switch to modern glaminate tubes. These easy-to-open tubes are made of seven airtight laminated layers of plastic, metal and paper. They replace all-metal tubes, which are prone to corrosion and cracking. In 1984 Liquitex is the first paint to be labelled for ASTM standards, for toxicity, quality and lightfastness. The following year, we create the Liquitex Studio Arts Advisory Council – a group of influential artists and educators who meet once a year to discuss the needs of art students, professional artists and art educators. Liquitex Fabric Medium arrives on the scene in 1986.
In 1988, we lose our founder Henry Levison after 81 years of innovation, creativity, and pushing boundaries.
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