Our History


What (and who) is Dick Blick?

Many people have asked, "Dick Blick - is that a real person?" The answer is yes. Dick Blick's first catalog originated in 1911 in the form of a small pamphlet issued by the company's founders, Dick and Grace Blick. Their first product was a lettering pen, which quickly became a bestseller. Their "warehouse" was their kitchen, and their "shipping department" was the Galesburg, Illinois, post office.

Today, Blick Art Materials is in its third generation of family ownership and is the largest and oldest provider of art supplies in the United States. Our products cater to the full spectrum of artists - from the youngest child ready to scribble with his or her first crayon to well-known, gallery represented professionals. Our superior customer service, extensive selection, and competitive prices make us the choice for professional and amateur artists, art educators, architects, designers, students, and hobbyists - virtually anyone requiring quality art materials for work or pleasure.


  • 1911

    Dick Blick began his company originating from sales of the Payzant Pen.

  • 1933

    Blick's iconic "Running Man" was developed to represent the company's promise of being "the fastest shipper in America."

  • 1948

    Robert Metzenberg purchases the company from Dick Blick. The family-owned business is now in its third generation.

  • 1950

    Blick's Masterstroke brushes are promoted.

  • 1956

    The Grand Avenue warehouse is constructed in Galesburg, Illinois.

  • 1974

    Blick's first retail store opens in Galesburg, Illinois.

  • 1984

    Blick's yearly catalog expands to 400-plus pages.

  • 1997

    Blick's first website is launched.

  • 2001

    Blick's state-of-the-art distribution center is built in Galesburg, Illinois.

  • 2004

    Blick acquires The Art Store chain of 11 retail stores.

  • 2007

    Blick implements A.C.E. (Achieving Continuous Excellence) program focusing on four key objectives: Safety, Attendance, Quality, and Productivity.

  • 2011

    Blick acquires Art Media retail stores in Portland, Oregon, and the Primary Art store in Savannah, Georgia. A mural commemorating the company’s 100-year anniversary is given to the city of Galesburg, Illinois.

  • 2012

    Blick processes its 10 millionth customer order.

  • 2013

    Blick acquires Utrecht Art Supply and Manufacturing’s 40 retail stores and paint manufacturing facility in Brooklyn, New York.

  • 2015

    Blick opens a third distribution center in Monroe Township, New Jersey, to better serve its East Coast customers and retail stores.

  • 2016

    Blick achieves Great Place to Work® (GPTW) certification, and continues to develop and implement programs to increase associate satisfaction and attract top talent.