Sandusky Cultural Center, 2130 Hayes Ave, Sandusky, OH 44870, (419) 625-1188


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January 8 - February 12, 2006

Diane Chevalier
Darlys Ewoldt
Erik Flesher
Mike Gold
Josh and Barbara Haplea
Nina Vivian Huryn
George Kocar
Patricia Krebs
Charles Mayer
Sandy Miller
Yianni Pagalos
David Pound
Matthew Ritter
Marie Segal
Mark Sudduth

 The Color Purple            Gallery hours            Directions

With awareness of cultural diversity and the positive values of artistic regionalism, the Sandusky Cultural Center provides educational and entertaining exhibits that stimulate an interest in the fine arts, provide a focus for multicultural awareness, and introduce complex issues and challenging concepts.

About Purple

“Just as orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow, so violet is red withdrawn from humanity by blue.  But the red in violet must be cold, for the spiritual need does not allow of a mixture of warm red with cold blue.  Violet is therefore both in the physical and spiritual sense a cooled red.  It is consequently rather sad and ailing.  It is worn by old women, and in China as a sign of mourning.  In music it is an English horn, or the deep notes of wood instruments.”
           -- V. Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art

Until the middle of the 19th century, when it was discovered that a purple or mauve aniline dye could be made from coal tar, most dyes and pigments were obtained from natural substances in plants or animals.  Shades of red and purple were eagerly sought.

One of the finest and most ancient was ‘kermes,’ the source of our word ‘crimson’ and the Arabic name for a wingless insect living on certain species of European live oaks.  These insects were scratched from the twigs with the fingernails and produced a powerful purple-red dye believed to be that obtained from the Phoenicians by the Hebrews to dye the curtains of their tabernacle.

Another was the Tyrian or Imperial Purple used only for the robes of the Roman emperors and chief magistrates.  It was tremendously expensive, being obtained from two species of shellfish by an extremely difficult and smelly process.  It produced shades of violet, true purple, and a crimson so deep that it appeared almost black.

The ‘discovery’ of America brought cochineal.  When Cortez and his conquistadors entered the Mexican capital they found bales of finely woven cotton and of delicate yarns spun from rabbit fur, dyed a brilliant carmine.  Included in the tribute paid by each conquered state to Montezuma, emperor of the Aztecs, were many bags each containing millions of the dried bodies of a tiny red insect - the cochineal bug that lives in colonies on the pads of the prickly-pear cactus.  It was more than a century before Europeans discovered the only chemical, tin oxide, that would deposit this pigment on wool or other fiber so that it would not wash off.

More widely available at reasonable cost in the 20th century, purple pigments and dyes became more widely used, with some artists insisting that purple in its more subtle tones was a perfect neutral, being neither warm or cool, giving life to shadows and complementing brighter  hues.


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