Famous artist's color palettes

Vincent Willem van Gogh

  • Yellow ocher
  • Chrome yellow
  • Cadmium yellow
  • Chrome orange
  • Vermilion
  • Prussian blue
  • Ultramarine
  • Lead white
  • Zzinc white
  • Emerald green
  • Red lake
  • Red ocher
  • Raw sienna
  • Black (kind?)

John Singer Sargent’s Palette

  • Blanc d‘ Argent [sub. Permalba White]
  • Chrome (pale) [sub. Cadmium Yellow Light]
  • Transparent Golden Ochre [sub. Transparent Gold Ochre]
  • Chinese Vermillion [sub. Cadmium Red Light]
  • Venetian Red
  • Chrome Orange [sub. Cadmium Orange]
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Umber
  • Garance Fronce‘ (Rose Madder) [sub. Permanent Alizarin Crimson]
  • Viridian
  • Cobalt Blue
  • French Ultramarine Blue
  • Ivory Black
  • Cobalt Violet

From „The Technique of Portrait Painting“ by Harrington Mann, J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, printed in Great Britain.

Claude Monet’s Palette

  • Lead white (modern equivalent = titanium white)
  • Chrome yellow (modern equivalent = cadmium yellow light)
  • Cadmium yellow
  • Viridian green
  • Emerald green
  • French ultramarine
  • Cobalt blue
  • Madder red (modern equivalent = alizarin crimson)
  • Vermilion
  • Ivory black (but only if you’re copying a Monet from before 1886)

Jeremy Lipking Palette

  • Mixture: Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White, Alizarin Crimson (med value, cool blue for cooling colors)
  • Titanium White
  • Cadmium Lemon
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Red
  • Alizarin Crimson Permanent
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cobalt
  • Golden Green
  • Viridian
  • Ivory Black

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez

According to Carmen Garrido, Head of Technical Services at the Prado Museum in Madrid and author of Velázquez: Tecnica y Evolución, Velázquez’s palette consisted of the following colors:

WHITE: composed of lead white and calcite
YELLOW: yellow iron oxide, lead-tin yellow, and Naples yellow (the latter, sparingly)
ORANGE: orange iron oxide and vermilion of mercury
RED: red iron oxide, vermilion of mercury, and organic red lake
BLUE: azurite, lapis lazuli, and smalt
BROWN: brown iron oxide and manganese oxide
BLACK: organic black of vegetal or animal origin
GREEN: azurite, iron oxide, and lead-tin yellow
PURPLE: organic red lake and azurite

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

  • Flake white
  • Naples yellow
  • Viridian
  • Ivory black
  • Natural earth
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Superfine Carmine
  • Venetian Red (possibly Red Iron Oxide)
  • Cobalt blue
  • Red lake

Source: The art of impressionism: painting technique & the making of modernity By Anthea Callen

Joseph Mallord William Turner

  • Cobalt blue
  • Emerald green
  • Viridian
  • Orange vermilion
  • Barium chromate (yellow)
  • Chrome yellow
  • Chrome orange
  • Iodine scarlet
  • Burnt umber
  • Carbon black
  • Turner’s yellow
  • Many red lake colors
  • White [titanium? flake?]
This doesn’t feel like his complete palette. And his palette did change over time.

Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix

  • lead white
  • charcoal black
  • lamp black
  • raw umber
  • yellow ochre
  • red ochre
  • madder lake
  • lead-tin yellow
  • vermilion
  • lapis lazuli
  • green earth
  • indigo
  • smalt
  • cobalt (probably blue)
  • Egyptian brown (also known as Egyptian Mummy)
  • cadmium (yellow)
  • Indian yellow
  • light chrome yellow
  • zinc yellow
  • red lake
  • vermilion

 William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s Palette

In one of his sketchbooks, Bouguereau lists so many pigments that no palette could possibly contain them, but it is interesting to note all the possibilities he had to choose from. It seems that Bouguereau purchased prepared colors in tubes, but on occasion he also ground certain colors himself. It is not known precisely which brand(s) of prepared colors Bouguereau used, but he did write an endorsement for the colors of Lefranc:  „I am pleased to have only good to say about the colors made by Messieurs Lefranc et Cie.“

  • White lead (Silver White) Lead carbonate 
  • Ivory Black Charred Ivory 
  • Minium Lead 
  • Vermilion Mercuric sulphide 
  • Brown Madder Iron (charred) 
  • Cassius Red Tin bioxide and gold protoxide 
  • Iodine Scarlet (English) Mercuric iodine 
  • Purple Red Mercuric chromate 
  • Madder Lake [preparatation from madder root] 
  • Mineral Yellow (Paris) Oxi-chloride of lead 
  • Charred Massicot Lead bioxide and protoxide 
  • Minium, orange Charred ceruse (lead) 
  • Chrome Lead Chromate 
  • Orpiment (King’s Yellow) Arsenic sulphide or yellow sulphide of arsenic 
  • Naples Yellow Lead oxide and antimony 
  • Ochre Hydrated ferric oxide 
  • Indian Yellow [precipitated urine of caged cows] 
  • Prussian Blue Iron protoxide sulphate and prussiate solution 
  • Mineral Blue Iron and [?] 
  • Ultramarine Blue Lapis Lazuli 
  • Cobalt Cobalt 
  • Smalt Powdered cobalt glass 
  • Ash Blue Copper 
  • Indigo Vegetable 
  • Violet Charred iron peroxide Cassius purple and alumina 
  • Verdigris Copper acetate 
  • Scheele Green Copper arsenate 
  • Mountain Green Copper carbonate 
  • Chrome Blue Chromium protoxide 
  • Cobalt Blue (mineral) Cobalt and zinc 
  • Viridian Sulfate of lime and copper aceto-arsenite 
  • Green Earth silica, iron oxide 
  • Sap Green Unripe buckthom berries (lake) 
  • Cassel Earth [coal byproduct] 
  • Cologne Earth Natural earth darkened mostly with bitumen 
  • Umber Natural earth colored with ferric oxide, manganese dioxide plus a little bitumen 
  • Sienna Ochreous natural earth and manganese (bioxide?) hydrate 
  • Prussian Brown Charred Prussian Blue 
  • Asphaltum 
  • Bitumen 
  • Mummy Asphaltum and bone ash 
  • Yellow Lake Albumen colored with Avignon yellow grains 
  • Cadmium Cadmium sulfide 
  • Azure or smalt Powdered cobalt glass
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