This site comprises a directory of suppliers of materials for painters and draftsmen (canvases, panels, stretchers, boards, papers, frames, etc.) active in Paris and France from the 18th century to the 1960s. Beyond the ‘colormen’ and stationers, and under the same umbrella term of ‘businesses’, the inventory extends to other trades and professions, such as gallery owners, art dealers, framers, restorers, reliners, bookbinders, shippers, packers, etc. These manufacturers, dealers and others are characterized by their often leaving a mark of some kind on the support or frame of a given work at one point during its existence and peregrinations—or even, when suppliers of the support, prior to its creation.

The core of the present site is constituted by this catalog of suppliers’ marks, labels, stencils and stamps, being organized into “collections” of marks and labels belonging to a particular trade or provider, as described above. All documented marks and labels on supports, frames, and business documents are eligible for inclusion in the catalog, with the exception of those left by customs and excise, art salons, owners, and collections, or during inventorying or stocktaking. With respect to collection marks, we refer to the prestigious Frits Lugt , Les Marques de Collections de Dessins & d'Estampes, available on the Internet since 2010 (link here).

The third facet of this site concerns the directory of artists in our corpus. The artists listed may be customers of a particular colorman or stationer, or simply users of a manufacturer's materials (canvas, paper, boards, paints, inks, pencils, etc.) available through a variety of outlets. Another type of relationship may exist between the artists and a business, or some other profession, the latter being, for example, an agent or dealer, or else a trusted conservator or shipper. In some cases, there may be no personal relationship between the artist and the business listed, the mark or label having been coincidently applied to the work on the occasion of its being framed, restored, shipped, exhibited, or put up for sale at a given time by some other professional.


This site is designed to answer many commonly asked questions :

  • what is the date of a given label or stamp appearing on the back of a picture or on a frame ?
  • how best can one identify a label or a mark difficult to decipher, in whole or in part ?
  • who were the supplier(s) of which artists ?
  • who were the recorded clients of a particular supplier ?
  • which suppliers of artists’ materials or other relevant services were active in Paris at a given date or period, and in what area or street ?


To help users answer these and other questions, the site can be navigated according to location, date or theme, with the aid of a color code that is as easy to use as that of a subway system. Basically, users can take any one of three interconnected “lines”: businesses (in yellow), artists (in green) and marks on supports (in blue). While exploring any of these three domains, one can at any time return to the search or else change “line”. As on a subway line, the successive businesses comprising a firm are materialized by a number, like stations. A specific search engine is dedicated to identifying their marks on the basis of various criteria (form, color, dimensions; words or numbers present; other particularities) .

To these three main catalogs or lists we append :


This Guide was set up in 2014 by Pascal Labreuche PhD (history of technology), who has since continued to enrich it through documentary research and the gradual digitization of a collection of images built up over the years, as well as thanks to contributions from numerous museum and research institutions, auction houses, galleries, collectors, and art lovers. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them.