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Oil paintings

Buy an oil painting Carré d'artistes

Carré d'artistes invites you to explore the richness of oil paintings through a wide selection of unique works. 
Discover all the emotion transcribed by our artists' interpretation of this traditional technique. Find our selection of oil paintings!  

Buying an oil painting, you have questions about our artworks? Our art curators are available to answer your questions by phone at 04 86 31 85 33 or by video conference.
 

What is oil painting?

The creation of oil paintings is generally attributed to the painter Jan Van Eyck in the Middle Ages. 

This is an official claim of authorship, as artists in the 14th century were already experimenting with different recipes based on egg white and oil, which was then used as a retouching varnish.

The approach proposed by the Flemish painter was widely adopted by the painting community. On a marble slab, the painter had the idea of mixing colour pigments with a drying oil (linseed or walnut oil) to obtain a soft paste to be applied to a new support: the canvas.

From that moment on, this painting technique was appreciated for its nobility and complexity. The great Italian painters, like Titian, contributed to the universalization of this art. Painting in oil was considered the preserve of Impressionism, in the sense that it was the norm in the 19th century.

The industrialisation of paint in the form of tubes marked the peak of the technique. To paint outdoors, artists used to fill pigs' bellies with the oil mixture.
This practice was particularly restrictive and the commercialisation of tubes encouraged painters to go outside to practice their art.

If the oil painting has long been considered as the pictorial manifestation par excellence, it is gradually being overtaken by the democratization of acrylic paint.
The latter has qualities that appeal to contemporary artists, who are gradually abandoning oil paintings to take advantage of the shorter drying time and optimal conservation of the work.
 

How is oil painting done?

Painting in oil requires technical know-how and patience. Although oil has the unique property of giving the work a unique satin sheen, it should be noted that the main characteristic of this paint is that it dries very slowly. It is said to harden because the oxygen in the air causes a chemical reaction that solidifies the layers.
 

All about oil paint

Artists who paint in oil must follow strict rules, otherwise they risk distorting and altering the work in the long term. They must paint fat on lean, i.e. they must always apply a fattier layer of paint on top of the one already applied. A new layer of turpentine that is too thin will prevent the previous one from drying properly, so that a hard plate will cover the old one, which can eventually lead to cracks and deformations.
 

Painting in oil is particularly difficult but it is possible to start practising by painting still lifes. 


Artists should paint a first layer and then wait several weeks for it to dry before continuing with the oil painting. The contemporary generation practices the "alla prima" method, which consists of painting the picture in one go.
At Carré d'artistes, take the time to admire the oil painting on canvas of our artists who will reveal to you all the finesse and the know-how required by this art.
 

The advantages of oil painting 

Time: It is possible to take your time, to retouch and correct your mistakes without hurrying 
Oil paintings have a very good conservation over the years and even centuries
This painting is historical and noble, it evokes great names in the history of art 
Its compositions are varied, any type of subject can be painted: still life paintings, portraits, landscapes, genre paintings, historical paintings, abstract paintings...
The rendering is very beautiful (gloss, glaze, varnish...) 
 

The weaknesses of oil paint 

Its smell is strong but it disappears as it dries 
The advantages of oil paint give it a rare and unique nobility.
That is why in our online catalogue you will only find oil paintings on high quality cotton canvas.
 

Famous painters and the oil painting movement

The best known are the Van Eyck brothers, for their technical and artistic contribution: Portrait of Arnolfini (1434) is one of the first oil paintings in Europe. 

We can mention Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (1503-1506) or Rembrandt's Christ in the Storm at Lake Tiberias.

Paul Cézanne's House of the Hanged Man in Auvers-sur-Oise (1873), Van Gogh's Sunflowers (1888) or Claude Monet's Water Lilies are famous examples. 

Vasily Kandinsky, with his squares and concentric circles, led oil painting into a modern turn towards abstraction.

Kasimir Malevich with Painted Reality of a Football Player (1915), or Mark Rothko in 1953 with Color-Block No. 61 (Rust and Blue).

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