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Leonard Bocour and Sam Golden, the founders of Bocour Artist Colors (the predecessor company to the Golden Artist Colors company of today) created the revolutionary paint Aquatec in the mid 20th century. Although today it is no longer eponymously recognized outside of specialized art spaces, partly due to the dominance of a competing product from the Liquitex brand, the prevalence of low-VOC polymer acrylic paints like Aquatec are at an all time high in the painted items of everyday use. The company's refinement of their paint formulation from the densely pigmented but highly toxic antecedent paint to Aquatec, Magna, uncovers the motivations for and the beginnings of the non toxic paint movement. From professional artists, to concerned parents, and manufacturers using industrial coatings, there has been a growing and increasingly urgent interest in non-toxic and environmentally friendly paint options. The research into Aquatec paint’s creation and its subsequent loss of visibility unearths its significance as a lost fossil of modern day paint chemistry. Aquatec remains an important catalyst in the Golden Artist Colors company influencing subsequent innovations in paint formulations. Many of the paintings in the Bocour Collection donated to the Binghamton University Art Museum feature Aquatec’s versatility, evident in its stylistically diverse applications. Aquatec, I argue, should be understood as a defining innovation in paint chemistry that has had ramifications within, and far beyond, the art world.



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The Importance of Aquatec Paint in and Beyond the Art Sphere