Indanthrone (indanthrene) PB60


The dye PB60 was developed by the German chemical company BASF in 1901, but it took until the 1950s before it was used as a pigment among artist’s paints. The idea with the pigment was to mimic indigo. The name comes from indigo + anthraquinone which is the raw material from which the dye is a derivative. Sometimes the color is called indanthrene which is actually an outdated term for all high quality textile colors.

The color is warm blue-black, it is significantly bluer than real indigo. The pigment is very light-resistant and semi-opaque, it is strongly staining and very intense dark warm blue, almost violet. The complementary color to Indanthrone is yellow-orange, you can mix it with e.g. raw umber for a gray blend.

mixtures with Indanthrone
From the left, mixed with Transparent Pyrrol Orange becomes a little violet
No. 2 mixed with Isoindoline Yellow which is a yellow-orange color becomes neutral
No. 3 Mixed with Nickel azo yellow which is warm yellow becomes greenish
No. 4 Mixed with raw umber becomes neutral.

You who like the color indigo (almost all indigo that can be bought today are mixed with other pigments) should try Indanthrone, it consists of a single pigment and it is intensely blue-black, much more beautiful than all ready-mixed colors.

Indantron is a color I use sometimes, when I do not need a clear blue for my painting, because its black content limits its use somewhat. But its intense warm blue hue is very attractive. A very nice color with some limitations.

Indanthrone is very dark warm blue
Indanthrone is very dark warm blue
Indanthrone  is strongly staining
It is strongly staining
Indanthrone Examples of blooms (or backruns)
Examples of blooms (or backruns)
Indanthrone is very willing wet on wet
It is very willing wet on wet


Color index name: PB60
Lightfastness: Excellent
Transparency: Only semi-transparent
Staining: Very
Granules: No

Indanthrene placement in the color wheel, it is blackish and warm blue
Indanthrene placement in the color wheel, it is blackish and warm blue

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2 years ago

Beautiful mixes! I have this color and love it, but I can see I need to push it further! Thanks

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