Scheele's green

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A highly poisonous green pigment composed of Copper arsenite. Scheele's green was discovered in Sweden in 1775 by Carl W. Scheele, a German chemist, but he did not publish the recipe until 1778. It is a bright, warm yellowish-green with good opacity. Scheele's green was never widely used as a paint pigment because it was toxic and discolored in the presence of acid or sulfur fumes. Currently, copper arsenite is used as a rodenticide, Insecticide, fungicide, and wood preservative.

Synonyms and Related Terms

copper arsenite; cupric arsenite; Pigment Green 22; CI 77412; mineral green; ash green; vert de Scheele (Fr.); Scheelesgrün (Deut.); verde di Scheele (It.); Swedish green; Schloss Green

Raman (MFA)

Scheele's green (Forbes 9.06.3) resize.jpg

Raman (UCL)



  • Extremely toxic by ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption.
  • Human carcinogen.
  • May produce toxic arsenic fumes when decomposed by fungi.
  • NIH: Info and SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in mineral acids. Insoluble in water.
  • Decomposes in alkalis.
  • Darkens in the presence of sulfur or lead compounds.
Composition CuHAsO3
Refractive Index 1.55 - 1.75

Resources and Citations

  • I.Fiedler, M Bayard, "Emerald Green and Scheele's Green", Artists Pigments, Volume 3, E. West FitzHugh (ed.), Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1997.
  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • R. Newman, E. Farrell, 'House Paint Pigments', Paint in America , R. Moss ed., Preservation Press, New York City, 1994
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: 'Pigments'
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 610
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Thomas B. Brill, Light Its Interaction with Art and Antiquities, Plenum Press, New York City, 1980
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989