There is a myth often repeated that Unbleached Titanium is what all Titanium White looks like before the brownish impurities are bleached out of the color. The truth is far more interesting and it is one of the few instances where a new color originates with a fortunate accident for an artists paint manufacturer. The color started with the contamination of a batch of Titanium White with some umber or ochre back in the 1960’s by Bocour (Leonard Bocour, contemporary paint manufacturer based in New York founder of Bocour Artist Colours Co., which supplied paint to artists like de Kooning, Helen Frankentaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Nolan and many others).
The color made it all the way to the shops and produced complaints, but there were many artists who said that while they wanted a pure white, they also wanted more of the “unbleached” Titanium as they liked it as a unique color similar to Naples Yellow but cooler. These days pigment manufacturers have discovered clever ways of introducing impurities during manufacture and to use heat to produce various shades of brown and yellow pigments based on Titanium, but most manufacturers of artists colors tend to simply create their own in-house blend of white and ochre to produce a version of Unbleached Titanium that is similar to Bocour’s original accidental color.
Artists like the sandy light brown of Unbleached Titanium. Like Naples Yellow it is very useful as a mixing color and can often replace pure Titanium White as a “softer” option for lightening earthy colors in landscapes and in human skin colors. It is very opaque and absolutely permanent.