Old Holland possesses a rich and storied history, boasting more than three centuries of experience developing and manufacturing traditional artists paint. In fact, Old Holland Classic Colours may be traced back to the golden age of the Dutch masters and the guild system. During the 17th century, European artists often belonged to a Guild of Saint Luke (named for the patron saint of artists); these guilds represented artists, regulated art trade, settled disputes, and more. Within the guild system an artist traditionally had an apprentice who would learn traditional skills and practices associated with visual art, including the preparation of pigments and the manufacture of paint.
In 1664, The Guild of Saint Luke in The Hague established The Pictura Brotherhood of Painters and its Academy for the Visual Arts, an association of master painters. Over the next 200 years, more and more painters (among them Willem Roelofs) came to The Hague to train and study at the Academy. These painters were skilled at formulating and manufacturing their own hand-rubbed paints, ultimately turning this expertise into a business venture. In 1905, Willem Roelofs’ son Albert took charge of the business, moved the company to Scheveningen and renamed it Oudt Hollandse (translated to Old Holland). Albert cataloged all of the ancient recipes and hired chemists to improve the manufacturing and quality of the Dutch paint.
Old Holland was acquired by Theo de Beer in 1980 and relocated to Driebergen; bringing a new lease on life to the brand. Under the guidance of artist Paul Balk and master paint-maker Wim van der Zwan (pictured), the company grew rapidly. Today, it is Edward de Beer, Theo’s son, who has led the company into the 21st century as one of the premier paint manufacturers in the world. [ visit manufacturer website ]