faces and figures

Titanium White and Zinc


There’s much discussion today about Zinc White (PW4) and its tendency to crack and delaminate.   Many have taken Zinc White and all the blends of Zinc White off their palette.  That would be quite an accomplishment today as Zinc is used in many, many blends. 

As an example most of the oil paint manufacturers offer Titanium-Zinc White blends but only a few offer a Titanium “only” (single pigment) blend.  It makes selecting a Titanium White a little problematic as many of those Titanium-Zinc blends are labeled as simply Titanium and the Zinc is only mentioned in the small print on the side of the tube.


Many, many colored blends contain Zinc as well.  It’s most common in higher value, pastel colors.  Also it’s common in some of the actual Lead White blends  and almost always in the Lead White substitute blends, sometimes called Hues. 

Never shown is the percentage of Zinc.  A little or a lot, the percentage is not required by the ASTM labeling protocol.  And does it matter? Is “just a little” as bad as “a lot”?    I’ve talked to many who say yes and many who believe it’s a matter of degree.  I’ve talked to many that don’t care and many that do.  Some treat it as a “conspiracy theory“ and some that use it in moderation, and some who are adamant non Zinc users.   I’ve included below articles I’ve come across concerning Zinc.  I’ll let you decide. 


Articles on Zinc Oil paints and its tendency to crack.








None of the following companies make a “single pigment” Titanium  (PW6).  All indicate that there is some portion of Zinc pigment (PW4) in EACH of their Titanium Blends.


Winsor and Newton


M. Graham




Sennelier Artist Extra Fine

Schmincke Mussini

Schminche Norma

Lefranc and Bourgeois


The following companies make a single pigment Titanium White (PW6)

Williamsburg-------------------27$ @150ml--------------18 c/ml*

Old Holland---------------------59$ @225ml--------------26 c/ml

Gamblin------------------------- 20$ @150ml------------- 13 c/ml

Michael Harding--------------- 48$ @225ml------------- 21 c/ml

Blockx---------------------------- 53$ @200ml------------- 27 c/ml

Daniel Smith------------------- 7.61 @37ml-------------- 21 c/ml

*Dick Blick Prices Apr 2018