The Red That Colored The World
Museum of International Folk Art
May 17, 2015 through Sep 13, 2015

The Red That Colored The World

From Antiquity to today, as symbol and hue, red has risen to the pinnacle of the color spectrum. Throughout art history, a broad red brushstroke has colored the finest art and expressions of daily life. Yet, while most people know red, few know of its source: American Cochineal, a tiny scaled insect that produces carminic acid. Fewer still know the story behind its explosive global spread after its first encounter by Spain in 16th century Mexico. Explore this fascinating story in the exhibition catalog, A Red Like No Other.

Following the cochineal bug from Central American to the United States, Europe and beyond, Red displayed more than 130 objects from the Museum’s collection, private lenders and internal museums.  Each object reflected the unique uses of color and how one bug has influenced art, culture and trade throughout the world.

Ths exhibition was made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: exploring the human endeavor.  Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition did not necesaarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Additional support came from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, The Interantional Folk Art Foundation, The Folk Art Committee,  Newman/’s Own Foundation, and Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda & Spa.


For more information, contact Nicolasa Chavez at 505 476-1219 or

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Needlework picture of an Indian princess
From Purebred Creole and Spaniard: Spaniard (de castizo y española: español),
Batea (tray),
Workshop of Francisco de Zurbarán, The Emperor Domitian on Horseback
Navajo sarape with small poncho neck slit
El Greco, The Savior (from the Apostles series)
Jacob Frères, armchair (fauteuil) from the Council Room (Salle du Conseil),
Orlando Dugi, evening gown (from the Red Collection), Detail of bodice
Orlando Dugi, evening gown (from the Red Collection)
Iran Trade Cloth (Detail)
Iran Trade Cloth
Altar cloth and cochineal dyed wool yarn
Nicho and Santos (Niche and Saints)
Molleno, St. James, New Mexico, ca. 1805-1845
Collection of wooden of Keros, Peru, 17th c.- 18th c.
Beeswax candles
Sewing box and cover with cochineal dyed wool yarn (detail)
Chest and diamond-twill skirt fabric
Maurice Jacques, chair back upholstery panel, Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins

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