Oil paint brand update: Grumbacher

I didn’t rate Grumbacher Pre-tested paints when I created its entry in my Oil Paint Brand reference. I associate Grumbacher with my impoverished student days and hadn’t used their paints in years, so I couldn’t rate the brand.

I recently bought several tubes and tried them. My memory proved to be right. Grumbacher is a high-end student grade paint, inferior to good mid-range paints like Winsor-Newton, RGH, and Blue Ridge.

Grumbacher cobalt blue

Grumbacher cobalt blue

Similar to Rembrandt paints, Grumbacher paints have a high ratio of filler to pigment. If you mix a Grumbacher color with, say, Old Holland, you need a lot of the Grumbacher as you would expect. Grumbacher paints handle OK but cover poorly. None of the tubes I tried–cobalt blue and cadmimum red medium–were runny, which is good.

My tube of cobalt blue was punctured when I received it from Cheap Joe’s (I use Cheap Joe’s infrequently), as you can see in the photo.

In Grumbacher’s literature they state that they’ve reconfigured the cadmiums, as if that was a good thing. I assume that means they’ve substituted cheaper pigments, which is what there prices suggest.

Another strike against them is that they do not provide lead white. This is a serious deficiency.

The best thing about Grumbacher paints is their price. After these tubes are used, I will not be buying any more paint from Grumbacher.


Performance: C-

Costs: B+.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *