In 1998, the chemists at Old Holland started research in the area of classic acrylic paint colours and mediums. It was a long-held dream of the late owner of Old Holland, Professor Theo de Beer, to develop an acrylic paint good enough to carry the 'Old Holland' name. He called the project 'New Masters' because, as with the Old Holland oils which were used by the old masters, the Old Holland acrylic paint would be used by the new masters of art.
The Old Holland research laboratory thoroughly tested more than 250 pigments and many different mediums before a selection was made of only the best available of these, irrespective of the cost, which were incorporated into the series. In contrast to the many major producers of acrylic paints, Old Holland chose a 100% pure acrylic medium from a product-oriented European manufacturer above the more obvious resins available worldwide. While more expensive, this choice adds a unique characteristic to the New Masters, unequalled by its competitors. In other words, as the world's first producer of oil paint, Old Holland is rightly proud of the fact that New Masters Classic Acrylics have the same characteristics and texture as Old Holland's oil paint. This bears witness to the quality of New Masters; visually it is indistinguishable, in terms of colour strength, gloss and intensity, from the oil paint range which forms the basis of the Old Holland legacy. Many pigments, such as Genuine Manganese Blue, are unique to the New Masters range; in addition, the traditional alizarins were replaced by more lightfast anthraquinonoids and various pigments which are completely new to Old Holland were introduced; bismuth yellow and DPP reds and oranges as modern alternatives to the traditional cadmium pigments; quinacridone scarlet, orange and various new magentas, to name but a few.
Following extensive consultations with professional artists in various countries, Old Holland developed a range of 168 New Masters Classic Acrylics.Following extensive consultations with professional artists, and a large number of tests in various countries, by the end of 2005, Old Holland had developed a range of 168 New Masters Classic Acrylics, consisting of opaque and transparent lightfast colours, free of any kind of additives and filler, with a maximum possible pigment content and a minimum colour difference between wet and dry paint. Responding to the current demand, Old Holland added an extensive selection of metallic, pearlescent, iridescent and interference colours, based on the same acrylic resin, and they demonstrate the same excellent lightfastness which has long been associated with the name. The result of the high dose of pigment and the patented binding system is that each colour displays the unique characteristics of the individual pigment. The paint dries to a satin gloss and can be used in a wide range of techniques, from thick impasto to ultra-thin glazing.