This intriguing post comes from the Co.Design website and casts the spotlight on a Harvard Library that continues to play an essential role in protecting the world’s rarest colors.
The story starts with the early efforts of Edward Forbes who is considered the father of art conservation in the United States. Forbes traveled the world from 1909 to 1944 gathering thousands of color pigments and assembling what is now known as the Forbes Pigment Collection – which he originally intended to use in authenticating classical Italian paintings.
But the story doesn’t stop there. Currently part of the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museums, the Forbes Collection has been rebuilt by the Center’ s Director Narayan Khandekar and now includes “modern pigments to better analyze 20th century and contemporary art.” It has also proven its value as a forensic tool. The collection was “instrumental in proving that a Jackson Pollock painting “rediscovered” in 2007 was actually a fake, after pigment analysis revealed that a specific red color was manufactured 20 years after the artist’s death.”
The post also includes a fun “top ten” list “of the rarest and most interesting pigments in the Forbes collection.”
(For more information on the Forbes Pigment Collection checkout Science Of Art Conservation In U.S. Began With One Man’s Collection Of Colors At Harvard)
(A special thanks to our own Leah Hinds for this ATG Quirky.)
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.