Francois Charbonnel, a practicing chemist in Paris, opened the doors of his family owned business, 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.
Charbonnel ensured the development of his business by working on new techniques of reproduction and on improving the performance of his inks and grounds. Today, almost 153 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.
All pigments are chosen for their excellent light fastness and low acidity. They are then blended with top-quality oils and are finely milled to ensure trouble-free printing and a lasting work of art.
In 1988 LeFranc & Bourgeois acquired Charbonnel, which is the uncontested benchmark in art printing inks.