Samuel Golden was born in 1915 and lived until 1997. His art related career began when he worked in his uncle, Leonard Bocour’s shop, Bocour Artist Colors located on 15th Street in Manhattan. Together they created hand ground and mixed oil colors for local artists. Some of those artists gathered and sat up their easels in Leonard’s shop to paint and share ideas. In this arena Samuel Golden and his uncle worked alongside those artists by developing or modifying paints as the artist’s needs changed. What a great way to be in the loop creating colors and changes to paint as the artists ‘tested’ the material right in front of their eyes !

Back in that era oil paint was the artists predominate medium. It was creamy, easy to apply and was available in basic colors. The thinners and cleaning agents, turpentine for one, were quite aromatic and unpleasant for some. Oil paint was very slow drying, so precluded moving around with the finished piece of art and it was messy. The time with the artists was inspiring and was the beginning of a journey for Samuel, working towards making something other than oil paints. Something that had a different base, or binder to carry the pigment. Just as good but maybe having better handling time while having the same excellence in pigment as the oil paint.

Samuel and his uncle experimented and during the years 1947-1949 developed a new kind of binder. The first ‘acrylic’ paint, created and marketed by Leonard Bocour was called Magna Paint. The binder was a plastic polymer and when mixed with color pigment offered quick dry time and easier, fumeless (water) cleanup. One of the first colors developed was a Phthalocyanine. Samuel Golden later developed the first iridescent colors, also the first stable Alizarin and the first Zinc White in acrylic.

His career beginning in 1936 in a small shop in Manhattan turned into a major business. He and his son, Mark founded Golden Artists Colors in June 1980. The first company site was a small 900 square foot barn. Samuel advertised his work as ‘making tools for artists’.

The work has continued at the same site but with several expansions. The company acquired Williamsburg Oil Paints and have added new acrylic products and of course many premixed colors. The company became employee owned, Sam retired and passed. But the traditions of making a fine acrylic paint and related products for artists continues on the same site where it began.

Thanks for reading!


Categories: Art


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