1923 saw the birth of one of the very first factories in Italy to manufacture artists' paints and varnishes: Fratelli Maimeri. The company was founded on the combination of artistic interest and techniques of the painter, Gianni Maimeri (1884 - 1951) and his brother's chemical knowledge (Carlo Maimeri, 1886 - 1957). The project to set up an artists' paints factory and the preliminary agreements came about at the same time the original site was chosen. Thus the first experimental productions were carried out at the historical factory, (what was once the Mulino Blondel), in Barona on the outskirts of Milan. Later, on 27 January 1925, F.lli Maimeri S.A. was created in collaboration with Giovanni Ticozzi and Baron Silvio a Prato.
When the two Maimeri brothers, Gianni and Carlo founded the company in 1923, the artists' colours manufacturing scenario was very limited, on the whole represented by small production facilities, of an almost artisanal nature, often linked to established paint manufacturers. Around the turn of the century, several industrial productions had already been attempted, such as those by the company belonging to Alfredo Piola (1898), F.lli Bassolini (taken over in 1905 by Colorificio Italiano), the Colorificio Italiano (1895, which later became MaxMeyer) and Ferrario (1919), which however were penalized by the economic events linked to the First World War. One of the greatest problems for dealers and artists alike was the cost of importing materials from abroad where industries, up and running for decades, were able to offer a vast range of products mainly for painting. This situation was well-known to the Maimeri brothers who, in the typescript document officialising their intentions (Project for a factory for milled oil colours for artistic use, September 1923) already asserted: "It is amazing how a country which can be considered the cradle of painted artwork is even now owing to foreign countries when it comes to procuring the materials used. ['']. The brothers, Gianni and Carlo Maimeri, who are in the most fortunate position to be able to study the problem from both the technical and scientific sides [''] firmly believe that their project can fill this gap". In the same document, the two brothers stated that the industry, in order to obtain a product which was ready to use and met modern market needs, often made use of different types of waxes, balsams and essential oils, whereas they were convinced that the best formula had to 'maintain the cohesion between the pigment and the oil, removing all those harmful substances, using solely the technique of mixing and the help of colloidal properties'. The aim of the two brothers consisted in giving colours a uniform mix which was stable, flexible and of various consistency, made only by mixing siccative oils and natural pigments. The oil plus pigment only formula was to become the basis of all the research conducted by the two Maimeri brothers' who, in 1924, put over 20 different shades of lightfast, permanent paint onto the oil colour market which could be mixed with one another. In 1924, with a colour selection presented at the Exhibition of Modern Art Industries, F.lli Maimeri was awarded the gold medal and the Grand Prize for its innovative production. One year later, at the Prima Fiera Campionaria Internazionale (First International Trade Fair) in Rome, the company obtained the Honorary Member Certificate with gold medal, and the Gran Targa d'Onore (Great Plaque of Honour).
Production, thanks to excellent use of the newly emerging advertising strategies, soon became stable and regular. The first series of oil colours, the A SERIES was put on the market. The label already displayed the Maimeri tetrahedron, the factory's trademark which has remained almost unchanged since its conception, devised and drawn by Gianni Maimeri himself. The sudden growth of the company and the 1929 crisis, brought with them a series of financial problems for the two brothers who, having wound up the previous company, continued production under the trademark F.lli Maimeri & C. (1929) in collaboration with their new partner, Sante Faccini.
Gianni Maimeri, as a business man, was convinced that it was not industry helping art, but art which was helping to save industry, and this can be seen from the very early stages of his company, such as in the careful thought which went into creating the factory's trademark: the painter opted to use the geometrical shape of a tetrahedron because 'no matter which way one turns it, it always has the same shape, what's more, of the three engraved faces, at least two are always visible, so it is always possible to read Colori Stabili (stable colours), Colori Maimeri (Maimeri Colours) or Stabili Maimeri (Maimeri Plant)'. Another event which highlights Maimeri's line of thought goes back to the end of the 1920s when the two brothers got into huge debt with Baron Silvio a Prato who, as soon as the new F.lli Maimeri & C. was established, requested its immediate extinction. Gianni negotiated at length with the Baron and finally managed to convince him to accept forty of his best paintings in lieu of the bills of exchange. Their sensitivity to art and careful observation of the reality around them also gave the founders a certain predisposition to make subtle use of the first forms of advertising: they sent out informative posters and samples of their products to painters, academy professors and important politically and culturally influential people, such as Cipriano Efisio Oppo and Margherita Sarfatti. They also began to establish their first agreements with tradesmen, as can be seen from the "personalized" price lists held in the company's archives, a very first "database" of painters and merchants. Once sales in Lombardy had been launched, the partners decided to expand into other urban centres, particularly those famous for art, such as Venice, Florence, Naples and Turin, etc.. And so began the survey into the artistic commercial situation of the whole country, with people of known capacity visiting tradesmen and artistically influential people with posters, price lists and colour samples. On the back of the 1931 price list one can read: "Rules for mixing colours and using varnishes sent free of charge. Request them by simply providing a business card". Response from all over the country was quick to arrive, as the correspondence preserved in the archives proves: from Liguria, Pompeo Mariani, from Naples, Vincenzo Irolli, from Florence, Carlo Coppedè, from Lombardy, Leonardo Bazzaro and Arturo Tosi and from Rome, Antonio Mancini. Other letters of appraisal concerned the pigments of Maimeri's own making. In fact, in the early years, F.lli Maimeri also manufactured top-quality pigments such as emerald green, cobalt blues and purples, cadmium yellows and greens made from cobalt and chrome. Leone Maimeri (1926), Gianni's son, remembers in his unpublished work, Mio padre (My Father), how Piero, factory supervisor in the refineries once told him that "after my father's death, it was impossible to find pigments as beautiful as the ones we used to manufacture".
In brief, within the space of about ten years, F.lli Maimer was producing and distributing throughout the country five different series of oil, tempera and water colours, as well as powder pigments for artists, a series of around 25 auxiliary products (varnishes, oils, essences, mediums and thinners), boxes of paints, palettes and numerous other accessories. Immediately after the years of the depression, thanks also to the protectionist regime, the Italian chemical industry flourished, as did the new Maimeri company, In 1936, the company had to leave the old Blondel Mill factory, which had become too small, to move into Via Ettore Ponti, along the Carlesca irrigation channel.
Before the Second World War, as can be seen in an old price list dated 1936, Maimeri's range included several series of products which were presented as follows in the catalogues of the day: A SERIES -STABLE COLOURS FOR FINE ARTS, the finest and best, made from totally stable pigments (approximately 40 shades) processed by means of a patented colloidal milling procedure which makes the paste classifiable as extra fine. B SERIES: complementary to the previous series and made in the same way. It includes pigments which cannot be considered completely stable. (In 1928 the two series are presented together and in 1937 they are joined together to make a single series of around 90 colours). C SERIES- SUPER-FINE STUDIO COLOURS, economic oil colours offering maximum guarantees of permanence for students and beginners. The range of over 85 shades, is manufactured in a single format. D SERIES: FINE OIL COLOURS FOR ARTISTIC DECORATION, (77) shades for great decorative works. F SERIES: fine oil colours at standard prices. Towards the mid-1930s, to meet the pressing demands of artists and tradesmen, the production of paints for water techniques began: T SERIES: TEMPERA COLOURS, produced in 35 shades with a standard price in two formats. L SERIES: WATERCOLOURS in two formats of 39 shades. E SERIES: dedicated to auxiliary products (varnishes, oils, essences, mediums and thinners), it included dozens of varnishes (including amber and copal) three of which in a special formula created by Carlo Maimeri, three siccative oils (linseed, poppy and walnut), four essences (lavender, spike lavender, turpentine and petroleum), fixatives and similar products. F SERIES: SPECIAL COLOURS FOR BUON FRESCO AND TEMPERA, powder pigments divided by their compatibility with lime and for a total of around 70 colours in all, available in different formats. As early as the mid-1920s the production of accessories and tools was developed, such as palettes, decorators' rulers, mahl sticks, boxes, painting carriers, field easels, canvas like boards and cardboard for painting, brush washer and mixing bowls for palettes, palette knives and a number of tools for modelling, such as trowels and modellers' boxwood and metal fettling knives.
The factory did not stop production when the war broke out, if anything the lack of any strong competition led to an increase in sales. What's more, production did not have to stop in the event of power shortages as the factory could use the energy produced by its own mill wheel. Another (and final) industrial undertaking of Gianni Maimeri, was the formulation of MAIMERI TEMPERA GRASSA, a reconstruction of the old-fashioned egg tempera used by the Great Masters only this time made with synthetic ingredients.
Up until 31 March 1945, the last day of bombing over Milan, Maimeri continued with its business activities. On that day however, a bomb hit the corner of the workshop, destroying it completely. Luckily there were no casualties, but the company was forced to shut down for some time. Leone Maimeri tells of how on that particular day he found himself not far from the factory and that after hearing the explosion all of a sudden he saw what looked like confetti come fluttering down from the sky: the coloured paper of Maimeri paint labels. The damage to the company was huge, but at the same time the demand for Fine Arts products at the end of the war continued to rise. The procedure for obtaining state funding was a long process so Gianni decided to rebuild the plant and the machinery at his own expense. In 1947 Gianni's young painter-entrepreneur son, Leone (1926) joined the company when he was a student studying Chemistry at Milan university. At that time the company had 15 employees, a number it had never before reached. Production increased by number and type. The most important new development in that period was the creation of the new line of watercolours called LM after Leone Maimeri. This series, with the addition of plasticizers such as honey and the use of extra-fine pigments was formulated to meet the needs of the most demanding customers. In this period Gianni and Leone were also working on the formula for a tempera grassa, a modern version of the egg tempera used in the Renaissance. The result was a new series of colours: the G SERIES - silver label TEMPERA GRASSA. This product, a mixture of innovation and tradition, went on to be hugely popular with the tempera artists of the day. As an informative brochure for merchants says: "MAIMERI TEMPERA GRASSA is water-soluble and can be diluted by adding this liquid, be it just a few drops or to maximum dilution so that it is similar to watercolour ['']. The dispersive power of tempera is enormous. To prove this, simply touch a water-saturated surface with a drop of paint to produce an instant spread of colour. This property is invaluable in obtaining uniform and suggestive gradations (for an effect similar to the one obtained using pastels). But the colour can be effectively used both as a diluted paste and in thick brush strokes with just a little added water. Water is however always a necessary medium for obtaining the complete and sharp surfaces characteristic of tempera. Excellent results can be achieved with both vegetable and mineral white spirit solutions. Dispersion is obviously less marked and painting done in this way is closer to oil painting while still maintaining the characteristics of tempera. His interest in artistic techniques had led Gianni Maimeri to investigate also the 'material' aspect of his art and his 'Trattato sulla pittura' (Treatise on Painting), written mainly in the early thirties and revised in 1946-47, shows to what extent he was an expert on the technical and scientific aspects of painting. (Gianni Maimeri. Trattato della pittura, Turino 2010 - edited by S. Baroni).
Leone Maimeri enters the scene
The death of its founder meant another significant change in the shareholding structure of the company. The young Leone was joined by Mario Agostoni, a first-class chemist and invaluable help. During the 1950s, Leone Maimeri succeeded in expanding industrial production to the graphic design and advertising sector, to decorations and hobby work which were rising sharply in Italy. Consequently, between the 1960s and '70s new lines for specific artistic techniques were created, including new water-based emulsions of synthetic resins, in other words acrylic paints. The increase in demand and the new pace in production meant that the company had to look for more space. And so the new plant was built in 1969 on a piece of land in Bettolino, in the Municipality of Mediglia.
Starting in the 1960s, the new Maimeri products which stand out are the oven-bake enamels and cold ceramic colours, the series of fabric paints, the metallic colours, the paints for glass, the RAINBOW hobby enamels for model making, a series of inks for calligraphy, the new fluorescent tempera paints, the pastels and, destined for a continuous and unstoppable expansion, the new water-based emulsions of synthetic resins: acrylic paints. The initial experiments and productions of this new type of paint led to one of the first marketing experiences in Italy in this field, which used nationally-produced emulsions based on vinyl acetate and vinyl versatate (VESRI-EXTRAFINE PAINTS FOR ARTISTS, January 1971). In time, alongside this continually growing first series, the POLYCOLOUR ACRYLIC TEMPERAS were introduced (1975/1976), initially produced in a range of just twenty or so shades which was destined to increase due to its huge success. In fact, thanks to their lightfastness, they were particularly suitable for outdoor works and thanks to their cost they were particularly popular with those who had to use a lot of paint to create murals, scenery and posters in general. Leone, in widening the company's horizons, was also able to match research and production to markets then considered niche and meagre but which in just a short time, at least in Italy, were destined for exponential growth. Straight after the Second World War, Gianni Maimeri had launched, also thanks to collaboration with some of the best-known Italian restorers, the limited production of a series of paints for restoration work (1948). This involved selected pigments of great purity and stability, milled in superior quality resin surfacer. Leone ably transformed the experience of these first limited, almost artisanal supplies, into the R SERIES: VARNISH COLOURS FOR RESTORATION which currently remains the only and most affirmed international industrial production of its kind, used by restorers the world over. In the '70s Leone, attentive to ecological issues and seeking improvements which could consolidate the company's image, decided to install, after a first ineffective attempt, something which at that time was a futuristic washing water purification plant.
Production in the 1980s
The 1980s saw the young Amatore Marchesi join the company ranks (in 1979 to be more precise). He was destined to become the formulator involved in many technical successes and is now responsible for the laboratory and production. At the same time, the original trademark appeared inadequate for the tastes of the times and Leone, with the help of avant-garde graphic designed Pagliani, decided to tackle the delicate issue of restyling. His indications were however set in stone, the concept of the tetrahedron conceived by the company's founder had to remain intact.
In the second half of the 1980s, after years of study and research, the so-called second generation acrylics were created based on acrylic resins and acrylic associative thickeners. These products were designed to meet new market needs which, starting in the United States (where Liquitex had already started to distribute them) demanded a product with the capacity to be applied thickly. The new series was named BRERA ACRYLIC - EXTRA-FINE ACRYLIC COLOURS FOR ARTISTS and was originally made up of a range of 47 shades. The new acrylic emulsions, much finer than the vinylic ones provided better performance, even though they were more light-sensitive and less stable. From the 1990s the range of this series of colours went on to include the iridescent colours (Luster) and the pearlescent colours (Perla) to meet the creative needs of the moment. With regards oil colours, the greatest new feature in those years was the introduction of big size (150 ml) tubes for oil colours (BRERA OIL) initially distributed with much success only on the American market and later on in Europe. Another series, COLORIN made up of water-soluble colourings increased the company's range further still. The studies and research executed, chromatic in particular, were a response to the high level of success achieved, even though it was a niche product. In particular they were used by graphic designers to draft adverts and other types of sample books, first for those aimed at textile factories which, in the golden years of fashion and design, were hugely successful.
F.lli Maimeri & C. s.r.l. and the arrival of Gianni Maimeri jr
In 1984 F.lli Maimeri became a limited responsibility company and, in the 1990s, progressively introduced Gianni Maimeri Jr, grandson of the company founder and currently company CEO, to work alongside Leone who at that time was Sole Administrator. During these years, Gianni Maimeri Jr, undertook to increase and spread the Maimeri trademark around the world in an ambitious challenge which was based on Maimeri's winning factors such as: product quality, company experience, Made In Italy, family tradition and the company's history. In 1996 Gianni also began to promote the establishment of the Fondazione Maimeri, with the intention of making the company founder more widely-known, encouraging studies in the scientific sphere on the history of colour and the company, as well as promoting the activity of young artists and culture in general.
Thanks to Leone and Gianni, Maimeri grew by between 10 - 20% every year. Father and son were very attentive to the difficulties created by this significant growth. The situation needed managing with commitment and focus. A larger warehouse was urgently needed to meet customer demands: in September 1992 the factory extension was opened. The area occupied by the structure and facilities reached a surface area of 16,000 m² and the warehouse alone, made in a special building, had a volume of 14,000 m³ and was managed by a state-of-the-arts IT system which made it possible to rationalize warehousing and shipment times and operations. A year later, success led to the need to transform the company into a S.p.A. (Joint Stock Company). Developing a number of his intuitions, Gianni Maimeri Jr, then began to tackle the restyling of certain acrylic lines which led to great commercial success and impact on the general public. Certain series of oil colours were also promoted: TERRE GREZZE, RINASCIMENTO and MEDITERRANEO, followed by the HD SERIES, aimed at intercepting the new sensitivity and chromatic perceptions of the digital generation.
On March 31, 2014 Maimeri Spa joins FILA Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini to give birth to a common project for the development of a group leader in products dedicated to artistic creativity with an offer that meets the demands from children up to the professional level. Industria Maimeri SpA is born with the aim of pursuing those values that have determined the success and prestige of the Maimeri brand in the world and in line with its historical vocation and characteristics of the Fine Arts sector. Being a partner of a successful international player as FILA is an extraordinary growth opportunity for our company and for the development of the Maimeri brand in the key global markets.

Once again the Maimeri trademark and company,
by selecting the most reliable partners under the flag of continuity through the generations,
is ready to tackle broad-scale challenges, convinced that creativity and artistic expression are an insuppressible need of mankind
where in colour you can and must place maximum faith for the future.



Degree of lightfastness

Highest degree of lightfastness

Symbol GHS (Globalisation Harmonisation System)

Hazardous to thea quatic environment

Cmr1, Stot1 Aspiration hazard

Skin irritation

Flammable liquids


Compressed gases

Oxidizing Liquids

Acute toxicity

Skin corrosion

First application: 100% Maimeri Puro colour: Maimeri Puro tints are highly concentrated so some colours appear very dark when used in their pure form.

Second application: 50% Maimeri Puro colour + 50% Colourless Medium, i.e. a neutral unpigmented paste. This medium is used for thinning the tints, enhancing the flow and emphasizing the depth of the thinned colour.

Third application: 10% Maimeri Puro colour + 90% Glazing Medium to emphasize the sheen of the tint and the different degree of opaqueness between the colours.

Fourth application: 50% Maimeri Puro colour + 50% Titanium White, to emphasize the undertone of the tint and highlight the concentration.