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- Ed Fortino and Dayle Duchossois, Chicago
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Archive for October 2015

“The History of Paint in America” Made its Debut at the School of the Art Institute

On October 8th, 2015, Mario Guertin was a guest lecturer in the Historic Preservation Department of the School of the Art Institute . The lecture was given to a dozen graduate students as part of the curriculum for their class on American Interior Design. The professor for this class is Rolf Achilles who is a luminary in the field of Art History, especially as it pertains to the American decorative arts and architecture. Among other things, Rolf is the Curator for the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows and is Chair on the Board of the Glessner House.

Historical Preservation Class of 2015 - School of the Art Institute

Historical Preservation Class of 2015 – School of the Art Institute

The first part of Guertin’s lecture told the story of how paint evolved from ingredients being mixed in the field by painters to ready-mixed paint in a can, as it is known today. Guertin started his lecture by saying that, after listening to this lecture, they would never look at a paint can the same way again. He then went on to explain how population growth, combined with tremendous technical innovation during the Industrial Revolution created the painting industry and ushered in the era of the “Chemist”.

The lecture also illustrated the use of color from the mid-1880’s to the 1950’s by sharing some of his vast collection of antique paint color cards featuring the actual paint chips for the various colors. The lecture also included a segment on color consultation – past and present. Those were the early days on Interior Design. Out of their need to promote the use of paint, manufacturers also did a lot to illustrate how paint colors could be used and combined to decorate the interior and exterior of houses. Many of those illustrations were displayed in the class.

Guertin wrapped up his presentation by illustrating how his own house painting company goes about doing Color and Concept Consultation for both interior and exterior painting projects. No one in attendance will ever look at paint cans the same way again!