Origin: Paris, France
Product Concentration: Printmaking Inks
Associated Artists: Pissaro, Renoir, Degas, Manet, Lautrec, Signac, Picasso, Chagall, Klee
Francois Charbonnel, a practicing chemist in Paris, opened the doors of his family owned business on 13 Quai Montebello, on the banks of the Seine opposite Notre Dame cathedral in 1862. His accomplishments in the field of chemistry and his inquisitive mind led him to start up a business manufacturing inks and grounds for artistic printing, etching and lithography. When confronted with the development of photography and photochemical processes, Charbonnel and the artists of Paris joined together to defend printmaking from obsolescence. The rediscovery of the lithographic processes enabled printmaking to a make spectacular resurgence in the fine arts. Artists such as Pissaro, Renoir, Degas and Manet led this rebirth and became regular customers of Charbonnel. Soon, the reputation of Charbonnel etching inks became world renowned for unmatched quality.
Francois Charbonnel ensured the development of his business by working on new techniques of reproduction and on improving the performance of his inks and grounds. Famous poster designers such as Lautrec and Signac joined the list of his customers. Located in a traditionally artistic quarter close to the Louvre and to the Ecole des Beaux Arts, the Charbonnel shop soon became a meeting place for the numerous artists who believed the possibilities offered by etching and lithography were best suited to their art. Many celebrated artists such as Dali, Picasso, Chagall and Klee resided in Paris and as dedicated customers of the store, confirmed their preference for Charbonnel products. Today, almost 150 years after it was founded, Charbonnel not only continues to provide inks and grounds for etching and lithography, but has expanded its range of products to include gilding, restoration, conservation and fresco painting.