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 purchased the company from Dick Blick. The family owned business is now in its third generation.

  • 1950

    Blick's Masterstroke brushes are promoted

  • 1956

    The Galesburg Grand Avenue warehouse is built

  • 1974

    Blick's first retail store opened 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 - a chain of 11 stores

  • 2007

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

  • 2011

    A mural commemorating Blick's 100 Year Anniversary is given to the city of Galesburg, Illinois.