Golden Artist Colors are made by the Golden family and the company's employee-owners in upstate New York. Golden paints have earned a very loyal following from artists all over the world based on the extremely high quality of the acrylic paints, mediums, gels and accessories they produce, the highly innovative nature of the company and their strong focus on meeting the needs of today's artists.
Golden pay special attention to the latest technological advances in pigment and binders, and continue to work closely with artists to develop new materials. Golden were the first to develop a water-tension-breaker, the first to use Quinacridone pigments, the first to develop Zinc White for acrylic, the first to use Interference colours, and their latest ground-breaking products include OPEN Acrylics and Digital Mix Media.
At the height of the depression in the 1930s, Sam Golden joined his uncle Leonard Bocour as a partner in Bocour Artist Colors. Leonard and Sam produced hand-ground oil colours for artists. The shop on 15th Street in Manhattan became a hangout for artists from the 1930s through the early 1950s. Artists such as Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler and Jack Levine would go to the shop to visit with Leonard, talk to Sam and get paint.
During one visit an artist gave Sam a honey like resin and asked if it could be made into paint. Sam recognized that this idea would require experimentation as the early batches of the new paint seemed to dry before the paint was applied. Between 1946 and 1949, and after much trial and error, the first artist acrylic paint was ready for production. One of the earliest artists to use the paint "Magna", was Morris Louis. Sam eventually developed a more popular waterborne version of the acrylic, "Aquatec." He continued to refine the chemistry of acrylic paints working with artists for the next 20 years to find what worked and what did not.
After 30 years in the paint making business, Sam retired and moved to picturesque New Berlin, New York. Sam planned to fish and golf, but quickly grew bored with retirement and found himself "going to the barn to make paint for friends." At the age of 67 Sam decided to come out of retirement.
Golden Artist Colors, Inc. began in June of 1980 in a 900 square foot, renovated barn. Sam, his wife Adele, son Mark and daughter-in-law Barbara Golden along with partner Chuck Kelly, founded a new company that would embody Sam's dedication to professional artists, work Sam described as simply "making tools for artists."
The first four years were financially challenging. Sam and Adele used every resource they had to keep the business alive. Mark took weekly trips to New York City to sell products to artists and continue the conversation that had made Bocour so successful.
The business began to succeed with the very loyal support Golden acrylic paint was gaining from professional artists. In 1985, the addition of a factory to the original cow barn gave the company 6,200 square feet of space. As the building grew, so did product lines. The original Golden Heavy Body and Iridescent Acrylics grew to include Golden Fluid, Matte and Interference Acrylics.
In 2008 Golden Artist Colors launched OPEN Acrylics, a new line of colors and mediums with exceptionally slow drying characteristics to allow artists to blend and rework acrylic paint in ways only possible previously with oils. OPEN introduces a completely new opportunity for artists and represents the kind of product innovation and commitment to artists that Sam Golden imparted on the company that bears his name.
Golden Artist Colors, Inc. became an employee owned company in 2002. And despite worldwide distribution, GOLDEN product is still created on the grounds of the original barn in New Berlin, New York using the highest standards for consistency and quality.
Gordon Harris launched Golden acrylics on to the New Zealand market in 2004 following requests from a number of leading New Zealand artists who had experienced working with the extensive range of Golden paints, mediums and additives in the USA and Europe. Golden is now the preferred brand of acrylic paint and mediums for many of NZ's professional, emerging, recreational and student artists.