The Miller family of Miller's Art Shop says fierce competition and the actions of the taxman have made it impossible to continue to own and run the firm, which was founded in Glasgow in 1834.
The shop, the oldest continuously trading in the city centre, remains open. But it has lost its 179-year-long link to the family of its founder Robert Miller.
The Miller family has issued a brief statement to let its many supporters and customers know of the shop's fate.
"We are very sorry to tell you that Miller's Art Shop, renowned throughout Glasgow and way beyond for nearly 180 years, is now in administration," the family said in a statement on the shop's website.
"The shop is currently trading at 28 Stockwell Street, Glasgow but we cannot supply any internet orders meantime."
The statement said a combination of the internet and competition from high street rivals - "to say nothing of the supermarkets and HMRC" - had made it impossible for Miller's to continue.
The statement went on: "The family are hopeful that a buyer can be found for the business - please keep looking for good news on that front.
"Thank you for making our many, many years in business so enjoyable."
Miller's has been a Glasgow institution for generations of artists, including Avril Paton, whose pictures of tenements, such as Window on the West, have come to symbolise Glasgow.
The 72-year-old recalled when Miller's was based in Argyle Street. She said last night: "I can still smell the paint and the turps of the old shop. It was a marvellous place where all the staff wore overalls and knew exactly what you needed.
"My grandfather Donald Paton was an artist on Arran and so was my father Hugh. They would trek over to Glasgow to buy their materials from Miller's.
"I remember when I first did so in the 1950s. I felt as if I had become a real artist. And you knew you were getting real quality when you bought at Miller's.
"It is a real shame what has happened. But now so many artists get their materials from the internet - because it is delivered right to your door."
Miller's became oldest retailer in the city after John Smith and Son, the equally renowned bookseller founded in 1751, retreated to university campuses and gave up its St Vincent Street HQ.
It was until recently run by Paul Miller and his wife Susie who celebrated the company's 175th anniversary in 2009.
At that time, Mr Miller expressed deep pride in the company's longevity.
He said: "I think it is quite an achievement for the firm, and the whole family,
"When it was launched, art supplies were just one of the products on sale. Back then it sold cigarettes, newspapers and books too.
"And during its history the firm has changed a few times, as has the location."
But Mr Miller, while hoping his son Oliver would become the seventh generation to be involved in the business, warned of problems on the horizon.
He said: "We find ourselves competing with the likes of WH Smith, Tesco and Asda. But we are equipped to cope."
More than half of the company's custom has historically come from students at Glasgow's thriving art school, which has provided a succession of Turner Prize winners.
Miller's had a store in the Trongate area until it moved to Queen Street in 1971 in a major expansion. It later traded in Glasgow and Edinburgh and had a successful mail order business.
The growth of computers hit demand for Miller's drawing supplies but the business diversified into hobbies and crafts only to encounter tough competition in that area from the internet and high street chains from the 2000s.
Nobody at the Stockwell Street store was available for comment; nor was anybody at BDO, the accountants appointed to run the business.