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Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color

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Elena Phipps, independent scholar and former Senior Museum Conservator with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the author of Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color (Metropolitan Museum of Art/Yale University Press, 2010). The Textile Arts Council is pleased to welcome Ms. Phipps as she traces the origins of the famous insect-derived dye in the ancient Americas and its dissemination by global trade routes to the Old World. Thirty years of research and collaboration with scientists have enabled her to trace the world movements of this coveted dyestuff, illustrated by examples from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Interesting cultural, technical, and historical questions arise from these studies. A dye that was once relegated to history and replaced by modern chemical colorants has attained new status with today's awareness of ecology.

Elena Phipps was a textile conservator with the Metropolitan Museum of Art for thirty-four years. She is currently Vice-President of the Textile Society of America, and President-elect (2012–2014).


Image: Detail, textile fragment, Recuay culture, Peru, 4th–6th century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, gift of George D. Pratt, 1930 (30.6.7)

Ticket Information

Free to Textile Arts Council members, $5 for FAMSF members and students, $10 for non-members. Tickets available only at the door.

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Trish Daly