Schmincke began at the end of the 19th Century, when the colour chemists Josef Horadam and Hermann Schmincke saw an opportunity to provide the artists of the day with a truly superior artists' oilcolour. They set out to Italy where traditional studio painting was still taught, in search of the nearly forgotten resin oil formulations. In 1881, at the Academy of Fine Art in Florence, they secured the precision formulations of the Professor Cesare Mussini, a guardian of the old masters techniques, and on these formulations, the two founded their manufacturing establishment under the name H.Schmincke and Co.
In subsequent years, artists' colours to suit all techniques were introduced, such as Josef Horadam's patent watercolours of 1892 and the highly regarded Schmincke Soft Pastel. Through the entire 20th century, every generation of owner has led the company to its current position as one of the world's leading manufacturers of finest artists' colour.