Color Spotlight: Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)

Holbein – Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)

PR122 magenta is a bold, transparent, non-granulating primary magenta option, purple mixer, and just an all-around lovely pink-purple-fuchsia-magenta shade.

Take care: some brands use the term “Quinacridone Magenta” to mean another color (e.g. Daniel Smith uses the term Quin Magenta to me PR202, and uses Quin Lilac for PR122.)

Experiment Results

Gradient: Smooth gradient with a large range. Nice and juicy merlot in mass through a bold primary magenta and diluting to a pale lilac.

Opacity: 100% transparent.

Glazing: Dark crimson glaze.


Lightfastness test for HO Quin Magenta (PR122). Left: protected swatch. Right: window swatch, exposed to western light in Boston, MA, from May 30-December 9, 2023.

There’s subtle but noticeable muting in the exposed swatch (right). It gets darker/duller rather than fading.

Comparison to Other Brands

Schmincke Horadam – Purple Magenta

Schmincke Horadam Purple Magenta: Gradient, opacity and glazing tests, color mixes

A very similar color to Holbein’s, but a bit more purple-toned. As with many Schmincke colors, I struggle a bit with overdiluting this one.

Qor – Quinacridone Magenta

Qor – Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)

Like other Qor colors I have tried, this is extremely juicy and bold, but I found it easy to over-dilute in practice.

Comparison to Other Colors

There are so many slightly different pinks/purples/magentas that it can be hard to keep them straight! Here’s where PR122 magentas fall compared to similar colors:

  • Bluer than DS Quin Rose (PV19 pink) and SH Magenta (PV32)
  • Pinker than DS Quin Violet/WN Permanent Magenta (PV19 purple)
  • Much pinker than Quin Purple (PV55)
  • Similar hue, but bright/bolder than DS Quin Magenta (PR202)
Left to right: DS Quin Rose (PV19 pink); SH Purple Magenta (PR122); WN Permanent Magenta (PV19 purple); SH Quin Purple (PV55)

Generally Quin Rose is a bit less purple/pinker/warmer, but they serve incredibly similar palette roles. See also What’s the difference between Quinacridone Rose (PV19) and Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)?

Here’s a comparison of several colors named Quinacridone or Permanent Magenta, from Oto Kano’s Patreon dot card.

Quinacridone Magenta comparison

These colors are made from different pigments. The first column is PR202 (Daniel Smith and Schmincke); the second row is the one we’re talking about here, PR122; and the third row consists of PV19 Quin Violets and Schmincke’s PV42 Magenta (which looks like PV19 rose). In the column of skinny boxes on the right, I added some comparison colors: Daniel Smith Quin Violet (PV19), Daniel Smith Bordeaux (PV32), and Daniel Smith Quin Rose (PV19).

You can see that the second column, the PR122’s, are the brightest “true magenta” colors. The PR202s on the left are a bit darker and duller in the same colorspace, where the PV19’s on the right are more purple, and the PV42 magenta at the bottom is more of a warm, reddish pink.

Of the PR122’s in column 2, the Holbein, Winsor Newton, and Mission Gold versions all look pretty similar. Mission Gold may be a bit pinker, but it’s quite hard to tell apart from the Holbein. Both Mission Gold and Holbein get shiny in masstone. I found the Winsor Newton slightly weak.

Commercial Mixes from This Color

Opera Pink

Mission Gold – Bright Opera (PR122, BV10)

Opera pinks are electrically neon mixes of PR122 plus a fluorescent purpleish element, BV10. Confusingly, some opera pink labels only list pigment “PR122” in the contents, but if it looks neon, it’s got a fluorescent additive.

Opera pinks are famously fugitive (not lightfast), leading many people think that PR122 pigment is as well. But PR122 is actually very lightfast! According to Kim Crick, it’s more lightfast than the most common alternative, Quin Rose (PV19). It’s the fluorescent pigment (BV10) in Opera Pink that’s fugitive; exposed to enough light, Opera Pink actually loses the BV10 and becomes a straight-up PR122 magenta. The PR122 part sticks around.

Color Mixes

Most of these mixes were made with Schmincke Purple Magenta.

Lemon Yellow

Lemon Yellow + Purple Magenta
Winsor Lemon (PY175) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

Variety of bold reds and oranges!

Rich Green Gold

Rich Green Gold + Purple Magenta
DV Green Gold (PY129) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

Unusual muted orangey-browns. Bruce MacEvoy of Handprint suggests PY129 + PR122 as a portrait mixing pair, but I find these colors too greenish.

Naples Yellow Deep

HO Quin Magenta (PR122) + WN Naples Yellow Deep (PBr24) on Canson XL

Rose and peach shades; never crimson.

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna

Monte Amiata Natural Sienna + Purple Magenta
DS Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (PBr7) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

Variety of peaches and cranberries.

Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65)

HO Quin Magenta (PR122) + DV Hansa Yellow Deep (PY65)

Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110)

HO Quin Magenta (PR122) + HO Isoindolinone Yellow Deep (PY110) on Canson XL

Deep Scarlet (PR175)

Deep Scarlet + Purple Magenta
DS Deep Scarlet (PR175) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

Bold crimsons!

Transparent Orange

Holbein Quin Magenta (PR122) + WN Transparent Orange (DPP) on Canson XL

Gets more or less to a balanced red in the middle.

Smalt (PV15)

WN Smalt (PV15) + Holbein Quin Magenta (PR122) on Canson XL

As I expected/hoped, I was able to use WN’s Smalt, a bluey PV15 ultramarine violet, to mix up bright, gorgeous purples with a bit of magical color separation. This is what I always want Cobalt Violet and Manganese Violet to look like, but those colors – while they have their own unique magic – are weak and can’t match the tinting strength of a PR122 mix.

Indanthrone Blue (PB60)

DS Indanthrone Blue (PB60) + Holbein Quin Magenta (PR122) on Canson XL

Lovely deep, deep, dark purples. This is my favorite combination for mixing a dark vibrant galaxy purple or Dioxazine Violet hue.

Ultramarine Blue

Ultramarine Blue + Purple Magenta
Holbein Ultramarine Deep (PB29) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) in an Etchr Perfect Sketchbook

This is my favorite mix for really bold, vivid purples.

Cobalt Blue

Cobalt Blue + Purple Magenta
DV Cobalt Blue (PB28) + SH Purple Magenta (PR122) on Arches

Similar to Ultramarine mixes. There’s something special about these that Ultramarine can’t quite match even though it’s more violet-toned and should therefore be better for purples. The color separation has an ethereal quality.

Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)

Purple Magenta + Phthalo Blue
SH Purple Magenta (PR122) + Holbein Phthalo Blue Yellow Shade (PB15:3) on Arches

These purples are also very bold, despite the green shade of Phthalo Blue being so green-toned.

Cobalt Turquoise

Purple Magenta + Cobalt Turquoise
SH Purple Magenta (PR122) + SH Cobalt Turquoise (PG50) on Arches

These all stay pretty light-value due to the light-value opaque Cobalt Turquoise, and there’s visible turquoise granulation floating above. I like the lilac color best.


Purple Magenta + Viridian
SH Purple Magenta (PR122) + WN Viridian (PG18) on Arches

Grayish-purples or gray-greens. These mute each other, but never quite reach middle gray.

Phthalo Green YS (PG36)

HO Quin Magenta (PR122) + DV Phthalo Green YS (PG36) on Canson XL

This is a very strong complement, slightly on the cool side.

What Others Say

TOP 40 PIGMENT… PR122 is my preference for the “primary” magenta paint for color point 5 of the color wheel. It has a marvelous mixing range, producing the brightest possible mixed violets from red blues such as ultramarine or cobalt blue; deep dark blues and violets with phthalo blues; iridescent purplish grays with cobalt turquoise; deep, sturdy blacks with phthalo green; and interesting, transparent botanical browns and dull yellows in mixtures with yellow, green golds or yellow greens such as sap green.

Substitutions. The main alternatives are quinacridone rose (PV19), a redder color that produces slightly less saturated violets and more saturated warm mixtures; and quinacridone violet (PV19), whose dark but saturated tones produce some lustrous dusky violets and very interesting browns and maroons with other warm colors. However quinacridone rose, assigned an “excellent” (I) lightfastness by the ASTM, was variable across manufacturers in my own tests, and some brands were clearly less lightfast than PR122.

Bruce MacEvoy, (2010)

My favourite of the PR122 range was Purple Magenta, Schmincke, as it was nice and strong and painted out well. … Winsor and Newton [is also] a great colour. The only downside for me is that I find the magenta colour less useful unmixed than a rose, which is why I ended up using Quin rose in my palette.

Jane Blundell, Watercolor Comparisons: Primary Red (2013)

Although the ASTM rates PR122 as only fair in lightfastness, independent lightfastness tests from various brands, as well as the lightfastness testing on, show it to be a pretty solid pigment in its pure form, aside from the use in the fluorescent opera colors. It is generally considered to be the strongest red-violet pigment in watercolors.

Denise Soden, “Color Spotlight: PR122 and PR202” [video] (2018)

I absolutely love the mixes I got with [DS Quinacridone Lilac + Phthalo Blue Red Shade]. They made a subtle violet (quite lilac actually), perfect for this delicate, beautiful rose.

Conclusion: Adopted! I will add Quinacridone Lilac to my palette permanently, I suspect mainly to paint roses and also pale purple subjects. I think it will also work well for shadow colours.

Sandrine Maugy, Pigment Spotlight: Testing Quinacridone Lilac (2019)

My Review

I love this color. I just love the basic unmixed hue of it as well as its gloriously large range and superbly versatile mixing capability. True to the promise of a primary magenta, it can mix mix a range of reds, oranges, and of course, the most gorgeous purples I’ve ever seen!

The big issue is whether to have this as my primary magenta or Quin Rose (PV19). They serve the same palette role. I am so into both of them that I am tempted to have both, but I find it a bit ridiculous. More in What’s the difference between Quinacridone Rose (PV19) and Quinacridone Magenta (PR122)?

On my palette? Typically I opt for Quin Rose, but I like PR122 magenta in situations where a bold modern true magenta is optimal, such as on the Neon Palette.

Favorite version: Holbein and Mission Gold are both ideal to me – strong, bold, bright, middle magentas. The Schmincke version and the Qor version give me cauliflowers, and Winsor & Newton is a bit weak. From dot cards, DS Quin Lilac seems a bit duller and mildly granulating.

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