Royal Talens North America: A New Beginning

Northampton Warehouse

In 2015, after decades of being distributed by another company, we decided the time was right to once again, spread our wings and open our own warehouse and sales office in North America.  Due to its east coast proximity and the bustling, creative, and educated community, Northampton, Massachusetts was selected as our new home.

In just 6 short months, a new company was founded, people were put to work on the new team, and a building that was once a woodworking shop was remodeled into our office and warehouse.  At the end of those six months, product was shipped to our customers from our new home, and artists never knew that a change had taken place.

We sell to distributors and retailers across North America, but you’ll also meet us at many events, whether it’s Colleges, Universities, ComicCon, Art Material Retailer events where we connect with Artists.  Check out our event calendar and stop by to say “hi” to one of us!

Our goal at Royal Talens North America is to further the mission of Royal Talens worldwide and also to create an environment within our own walls that embraces the creative spirit of the artist and the entrepreneur.  Many of us are artists ourselves, and we are passionately engaged in the art community as well as in our business.  We are a small team doing big things and we care about our customers and our trade partners.


A History of Royal Talens

1899: The Beginning of Talens

The history of Royal Talens goes back to 1899. In that year Marten Talens founded the "Dutch Factory for Paints, Lacquers and Inks" in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn. As a family business it concerned itself initially with the production of office supplies and inks.

1899: Rembrandt Oil Colours & Water Colours

The arrival of Rembrandt Oil Colours and Water Colours saw the start to the production of a wide range of high-quality artists' paints. This can be seen in a photo from the 1904 catalogue.

1912: First Expansion of the Company

With the ever-increasing production of oil colours and new products the business soon expanded for the first time. Also abroad the Rembrandt oil colours, known from the "Dutch farmer", became a success. Talens set up a sales office in America.

1920: Further Automation of the Production

The demand for Talens products continued to grow, and in 1920 the company continued to expand and further automated the production. Steam was introduced as the supplier of energy. In the years that followed the company took over a local ink factory and built its own tin plant.

Royal Talens Takes Over a Local Ink Factory

1924: Introduction of Rembrandt Soft Pastels

The company always responded to the needs of the market with the underlying concept of: "meeting an as wide as possible range in this sector". This approach led to the development and launch of the Rembrandt soft pastels. It did not take long for this product to become an international success as well.

1927: New Office Wing

In 1927 a new office wing was built, which still stands today at the front of the building. Behind this facade the Royal Talens head office is located. The architect of this characteristic building was Mr P.W. van den Belt. This building is now listed as a historic building and is on the list of the Dutch Historic Buildings Council.

1932: The Emergence of the Typewriter

The product range was expanded as a new market opened up: ribbons and carbon for typewriters. Distribution took place through the office stationer's and the emerging office machine sector for which stencils and stencil inks were then also produced.

1945: Building Up After the War

During the war the production of many products had stopped because the necessary raw materials were simply not available. A stray bomb also caused a great deal of damage to the factory. After 1945 the company combined all its forces to start production again and the company continued to grow once more.

1949: Designation ‘Royal’

The high demands Talens had already set itself in 1949 regarding sound and high-quality innovation helped it acquire its 'Royal' designation. Royal Talens gives this honourable mention shape in a modern manner.

1955: Strong Growth

The 1950's were characterized by enormous growth. In addition to the expansion of factory buildings Talens opened up a new laboratory. Export also became increasingly important. With offices in a number of European countries and agencies in more than 50 countries, Talens products were becoming increasingly available throughout the world.

1963: New Products and Introduction of Van Gogh Brand

After having joined the Sikkens Group NV in 1963 the range received a new boost with the introduction of a great many new products including modern types of paint such as Polymer Colours and ETA. In the mid nineteen seventies Sikkens was taken over by the AKZO group and Talens too became an AKZO subsidiary, until 1991. In September 1963 the Van Gogh brand was launched. In the course of the years the brand has developed into a brand that incorporates all techniques in its range.

1970: Acrylic: The New Paint

The catalogue of the time introduced "a brilliant acrylic (plastic)-based paint, incorporating the latest chemical innovations; a paint which is an evolution in the area of artists paints."

1974: 75th Anniversary

With the celebration of the 75th anniversary a number of art lovers among the Talens staff requested that the management put together a Talens art collection. To this day Royal Talens has been managing this ever-increasing art collection with its aim to stimulate young professional artists.


1976: Introduction of Amsterdam

The nineteen seventies saw the arrival of the phenomenon of marketing. Many changes were made to the range. Amsterdam was introduced: a high-quality type of paint for students.

1982: Introduction of Decorfin Hobby Paint

For years the Talens range included paint for folk art typical of the Netherlands: a hobby paint that was used for, for example, the Hindeloopen style and Staphorst stippling technique. Responding to the trend of increased leisure time, this range was rebranded as Decorfin: paints and materials with which everyone can create a personal atmosphere in the interior and on numerous objects.

1989: Large-scale Development

Talens' most prestigious new development to date was festively opened by His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard: the new filling and packaging hall. The production takes places here on the most modern of machines and meets the most stringent of standards.

1991: Part of Sakura

Royal Talens became part of the Sakura Color Products Corporation, with its headquarters in Osaka, Japan. Sakura has 1500 staff worldwide and is fully privately owned. The portfolio consists of writing instruments and colouring materials. Sakura offers Royal Talens a solid foundation for expansion and commercial success.

1996: Talens Polska Founded

In the Polish city of Lesko, Talens built a factory where a highly complete range of easels and stretched canvases are now produced according to European standards. In-house production and direct distribution to the branches here, too, guarantees a reliable quality product.

1999: Expansion of Distribution Centre

Due to the constant lack of space in the centre of Apeldoorn, Talens moved in 1990 to a new distribution hall on the outskirts of the city. From this location the products are sent to retailers in the Benelux and Germany. The company's own branches in Europe are also supplied as are more than 90 distributors worldwide.

2002: Packaging Award for New Range of Pencils

The combination of a knowledge of pigments in artists' paint with the technique of drawing resulted in an innovative product: colour pencils with a guaranteed lightfastness. It was unique in the market and in 2002 received the Best Packaging Award from the NAMTA for its revolutionary packaging design.

2004: New Range of Sets and Boxes

Keep what is good and improve where it is possible. This was the challenging principle behind the restyling of the ranges of Rembrandt and Van Gogh artists' painting sets and boxes. At the heart of the restyling is a clear and visual communication regarding the contents and a look that invites artistic creations.

2005: Introduction of ArtCreation

In addition to the Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Amsterdam brands Royal Talens introduced a new brand, ArtCreation. Specially developed to allow the starting artists achieve their first successes, ArtCreation offers beginners an affordable and reliable basic quality in artists' products.

2006: Rembrandt 400

Rembrandt's 400th birthday is, of course, also celebrated at Royal Talens. A beautiful CD box with an overview of the life of Rembrandt inside is temporarily given free of charge with a number of Rembrandt de luxe artists' boxes.

2009: 110 years Royal Talens

Royal Talens - renowned for its paints - will celebrate its 110th anniversary on 4 October. Royal Talens has grown into an international company with strong brands and high-quality products that have been made with respect for tradition. The needs of our customers and dealers have always been paramount and that will remain so. Because together we can make a colourful future as well!

2010: Royal Talens Introduces Cobra

The innovation of the 21st century; a water mixable oil paint that produces a beautiful and durable result without having to use solvents such as white spirits or turpentine. With Cobra you can paint wherever you want!

2015: Royal Talens North America is Founded

Based in Northampton, Massachusetts – a small college town brimming with creative energy was the perfect location to open our North American Affiliate.