About Us

Pierre Finkelstein

Pierre Finkelstein is a 1986 Gold Medal graduate of the Van Der Kellen Painting Institute in Brussels. Four years later, was awarded the very prestigious award as the "best craftsman in France" in 1990 from his native land. His interest and skill brought him to New York City where he has owned Grand Illusion Decorative Painting, Inc. for over 20 years. In that time, he has created faux finishes for internationally acclaimed interior designers and architects worldwide.

Pierre Finkelstein creates photo realistic faux finishes, faux marble and woodgraining, intricate glazing, 18th and 19th century patinas, gilding, handmade plaster finishes, ornamentation, custom-cut stenciling and architectural trompe l'oeil for internationally acclaimed interior designers and architects.

Shop tested - job proven, Pierre's brushes are developed for today's decorative painter and used by Pierre Finkelstein and his crew every day.

In 1982, Pierre Finkelstein started working as a sign painter in the United States after his decorative painting training in Brussels. His schooling and personal taste lead him toward the love of traditional decorative painting and inspired him to start a business in 1986. His need for brushes specifically for his trade, sparked the motion for his upcoming venture in fine, hand-crafted brushes:

"As I started working in New York City, I quickly discovered the hand-crafted specialty brushes in my personal kit were practically impossible to find in the United States. The search for these brushes was endless, along with finding knowledgeable store clerks to shed light on acquiring decorative painting brushes. So, my trips to France would surely include a few stops at my old supplier so I could stock up.

As the wave of popularity of my second book, The Art of Faux, peaked, my desire to teach classes followed suit. In my earliest experience in teaching, I learned that my students wanted to use the same brushes that I was using to create faux marble or woodgraining. Why wouldn't they? Therefore, my trips to Europe were more focused on bringing back brushes and tools for my students who discovered immediate improvement in technique and confidence.

Soon I sought out the best in brush manufacturing and stumbled upon our small company in Brittany, France. Beyond the front doors was a room filled with dedicated craftsman (or shall I say, craftswomen) who assemble each brush by hand without industrial machinery. Frozen in time, this business was started in 1840 and produces handcrafted brushes with the quality I expect from my own tools.

"There isn't a substitute for this type of care and dedication for the highest quality product."

After developing a relationship with our manufacturer, I became committed to develop and improve the old models of decorative painting brushes to suit the industry's needs. For instance, today's faux finishes are widely created with water mediums, which are primarily thicker than traditional oil glazes. Old, 19th century models need to adapt to today's products, substrates, and overall environment. With this research came the variation of brush size, hair length, and incorporation of synthetic fibers to create faux marble, trompe l'oeil, and woodgraining brushes for use with today's water mediums. But, rest assured, I've still kept the classic brushes used with traditional oil techniques.

Today, our brush manufacturer has grown with the industry, but still makes all brushes by hand from beginning to end. Careful fingers visually sort delicate hair and fibers, clump and shape them together by hand while tying and otherwise affixing the brush to the ferrule. Watching the women assemble brushes is mesmerizing. What I see as a work of art, they see as a regular craft. That is a true sign of quality. There isn't a substitute for this type of care and dedication for the highest quality product."

Since the beginning of the Pierre Finkelstein Institute, Pierre has been constantly developing and adapting decorative painting brushes for his students, customers, and, most importantly, for his own use on the hundreds of projects he has completed in the past 20 years, with the same brushes he sells today. Pierre's dedication to his trade is reason enough to be sure that when you buy a Pierre Finkelstein, hand-crafted decorative painting brush, you are getting the best available! Job-tested, battle-proven, Pierre's brushes have been put to the test.