Bocour Donations on Exhibit

Jean Cohen

A collection of donations by the late Leonard Bocour is currently on exhibit in the Stein Galleries' Corridor Gallery.

In 1932 painter Leonard Bocour opened Bocour Hand Ground Artist Colors on 15th Street in Manhattan. His nephew Sam Golden soon began working for him, and became a full business partner in the 1950’s. The shop sold paint directly to many artists who are now well known; such as Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock. Bocour often gave paint to struggling artists during the Depression, or exchanged paintings for paint. As a result, he acquired a substantial collection of early twentieth century artwork.
Bocour Artist Colors was a hangout for artists from the 1930’s through the 1950’s. Artists such as Mike Lenson and Helen Frankenthaler began making specific requests regarding paints that differed from the traditional oil-based paints. In response to these requests, Bocour and Golden developed an acrylic resin miscible with oil or turpentine.  This new type of paint retained the consistency of oil but not the long dry times. Bocour and Golden experimented with acrylic paints over the next 20 years.
Bocour continued to sell paints, both oil and acrylic, into the early 1990’s. Golden retired in 1972. He came out of retirement in 1980 to form a new family-run company, called Golden Artist Colors, which sells acrylic paints and artist supplies to this day.  
The Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian holds Leonard Bocour’s papers. The files note that Bocour “donated numerous works of art to schools and museums.”  The Robert & Elaine Stein Galleries was the recipient of such a donation in December of 1974.
IMAGE: Jean Cohen, "Chasing Blue," 1961, oil on canvas. 25" x 28"