The World's Rarest Colors Are Housed at Harvard's Art Museum

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Today, a 4-year-old can open Snapchat and scroll through an entire spectrum of colors that once upon a time were treasured by artists looking for innovative hues and shades not easily recreated by man.

Edward Forbes, an historian and director of the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University from 1909 to 1944, traveled the world amassing rare pigments in order to authenticate classical Italian paintings, according to Harvard Gazette.

The Forbes Pigment Collection is home to over 2,500 unique pigments, which can be cross checked to determine the authenticity of paintings. In 2007, a rediscovered Jackson Pollock was proven to be a fake when a red used in its composition was found to have been first documented in 1974—20 years after Pollock’s death.

You can read about the collection in much more detail at the link above, but it’s fascinating for anyone with an interest in colors.

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