- Chemical Description: Arylide yellow
- Pigment Number: PY3
- Lightfastness Rating: ASTM II
- Pigment Opacity: Transparent
- Paint Opacity: Transparent
- Series 2
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For centuries artists had no reliable transparent light yellow colors. There were all sorts of concoctions made from berries and other plant based sources that all shared one fatal flaw – they all faded within a few short years. It was frustrating because the color itself is very useful. In 1911 German chemists developed the bright lemon yellow arylide lake pigment we now know as Hansa Yellow.
The name Hansa is from a medieval word for a trade group (the Hanseatic League was literally a “hansa”) and was probably given to the color to make it sound like a long established reliable industrial product and to help differentiate it from the many poor quality colors which had come out of laboratories up to that point. It was developed for marketing to the printing industry as an ink but almost immediately artists paint manufacturers started using it too.
Hansa Yellow was the first of the successful high performance organic pigments that would lead to the many excellent high lightfastness reds and yellows that artists use today. As the earliest of the organic pigments still in widespread use for professional artists paints it could be considered as the grand-daddy of them all.
Yellow Light Hansa is a bright cool transparent and clean yellow that is perfect for mixing brilliant light yellowy greens. Its transparency makes it suitable for glazing techniques and watercolor-like effects, and its low cost compared to other yellows makes it the friend of the artist on a budget.