Curriculum Vitae

Born in Haseluenne, Germany.

Studies linguistics and literature in Muenster, Munich, Germany and Montpellier, France.

Travels to the Far East, studies portrait painting with an Australian artist and oil painting in a Chinese art college in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Works with a mask sculptor in Bali to learn ancient colour techniques.

Begins research on the origins of ancient colours. Starts working with indigo.

Gives a workshop for East Javanese painters on the preparation of canvas techniques at the German Cultural Centre in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Publishes a manual in Indonesian (“Kanvas Moderen”) on the preparation of canvas for use in tropical climates with local materials. Leaves Indonesia for Beirut, Lebanon. First experiments with royal purple at the American University of Beirut.

Moves to West Berlin. Meets Henri Gowa, a painter and pigment specialist.

Moves to Lacoste, Provence, France.

Continues research on ancient colour techniques. Works with shellfish purple and indigo.

First art work using Tekhelet, the Biblical Blue.

Member of the Board of OKHRA, Conservatoire des Ocres et Pigments Appliqués, Roussillon, Provence.

Rediscovers a method for dyeing purple parchment and the conservation of murex glands for vat-dyeing.

Re-invents the process of producing the purple pigment called purpurissum in antiquity, for painting.
Lectures on her research and artistic work with shellfish purple.

Participates in the annual meetings of DYES IN HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY and PURPUREAE VESTES in different European cities.

Features in a documentary about purple filmed in Lacoste, France, by ‘Wild Dream Films’ UK, ‘Ancient Discoveries’ series, History Channel and Worldwide, in 2008.

Dyeing experiments with purple pigment (purpurissum) in a private laboratory in Geneva.
Group Exhibition ART Lacoste 2010.
Purple experiments (
Rapana venosa )with Rolf Haubrichs at the Black Sea in Bulgaria.
Photo-Interview with Pedro Lima & Philippe Psaïla.
DHA 29 meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

January: Colloquium at the University of Valencia, Spain: LA MAGIA DE
February: Science of Art & Color, International Edelstein Color
Symposium at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Ramat
Gan, Israel. Poster ‘
The Colours of Tekhelet’
March: French Television (France2, AND) films a documentary on purple art work in Lacoste.
April: ART Lacoste 2011, annual group exhibition of Lacoste’s international artists.
April: International Symposium, workshop & exhibition on natural dyes
ISEND 2011 Europe, La Rochelle
April - August: Exhibition ‘The Colour Purple, from the Atlantic to
faraway shores’, Aquarium La Rochelle.
October: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, teamwork on a manuscript
from the 9th century AD (Kroenungsevangeliar) to identify
shellfish purple.

February 2012 – January 2013: Exhibition “HALLSTATTFARBEN” at the
‘Naturhistorisches Museum Wien’ showing shellfish purple samples.
February: Visite to the purple island of Jazirat bin Ghanim, Al Khor,
and interview by Francis Gillespie for “The Gulf Times”, Doha, Qatar.
April: ART Lacoste 2012.
June – October: Exhibition with Tania Love (Canada) at “Jardin
Conservatoire des Plantes Tinctoriales” in Lauris, France.
November : Symposium on shellfish purple at the university of Cadiz,
November – March2013: FASCINATION DU LIBAN, exhibition on the Lebanese Cultural Heritage at Rath Museum, Geneva, displaying documents on purple including 3 paintings.

March: Meeting in Geneva with Maha El-Khalil Chalabi, general-secretary of the Tyre Fondation, Lebanon.
5 paintings shown at the “Fiera di Vicenza, Abilmente”, Italy.
ART Lacoste 2013
April: “Journées européennes des Métiers d’art”, Musée des ATP (Arts & Tradition Populaires), Draguignan, France. Purple workshop.
June : “TREASURES OF THE SEA , Sea-silk and Shellfish Purple Dye in Antiquity”, Lecce, Italy. Symposium organized by CTR (Center of Textile Research), universities of Copenhagen, Danmark and Salento, Italy.

April: ART Lacoste 2014
Conference “
l’Illusion du Tekhelet, la quête de couleurs perdues » at ECOLE DE PRINTEMPS, Okhra, Roussillon, France.

April: ART Lacoste 2015 
May: University Tuebingen, Germany: purple workshop with archaeologists from the Qatna site (II millennium BC) in Syria.

March: ART Lacoste 2016
April: Purple workshop for 16 textile students of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in Lacoste.
TERRA X (German Television ZDF) produces a film on “Voelker II, die Karthager” with document on purple production in Lacoste.
October: Symposium on natural colours by PURPUREAE VESTES, university of Valencia, Spain, in Padua, Italy.

April: ART Lacoste 2017
April – November: MODE POURPRE, exhibition at MuséAl in Alba-La-Romaine, France, with 18 paintings.
May: workshop for 16 textile students from SCAD in Lacoste.
Experiments with Sophie Rabitsch (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien) on purple parchment for restauration work on the WIENER GENESIS (6
th c. AD).
October: FETE DE LA SCIENCE, purple workshop at the roman museum in Alba-La-Romaine with Rolf Haubrichs.

Exhibitions, Workshops & Conferences

Exhibitions in Malaysia, Indonesia, Lebanon.

Exhibitions in Germany, France, Sweden.

Exhibitions on indigo and purple only.

Workshops and exhibitions on the colour purple :

Dyeing or Painting Parchment with Murex trunculus 20th Annual Meeting of Dyes in History and Archaeology, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

La Cuve de Pourpre par Fermentation, “Ecole de Printemps”, Conservatoire des Ocres et Pigments Appliqués, Roussillon, Provence, France.

Earth Tones I Group exhibition on ”Natural Dyes in Art”, Brunnier Art Museum, Iowa State University, Ames, U.S.A.

Das rote Tuch - archaeologischen Textilien auf der Spur. Kuenstlerische Werkstatt: Farben der Antike, Purpur. Archaeologisches Museum, Frankfurt a.M., Germany.

Medieval Dyestuffs and Dyeing A Purple Fermentation Vat, Reading University, U.K.

Tyrian Purple Dyeing: An experimental approach with fresh Murex trunculus Video presentation at the 2nd International Symposium PURPUREAE VESTES II, Textiles and Dyes in the Mediterranean World, Athens, Greece 2005.
Exhibition with Camille Virot at Simiane-la-Rotonde, Provence, France.

Poster presentation Purpurissum: Techniques of production inspired by Pliny the Elder at the 3rd International Symposium PURPUREAE VESTES III, Textiles and Dyes in the Mediterranean World, Naples, Italy 2008.
Documentary film on purple by ‘Wild Dream Films’ U.K., for the series of ‘Ancient Discoveries’, History Channel and Worldwide, Lacoste, France 2008.


ART Lacoste 2009 -2011 Groupe exhibition in Lacoste, France.

Meeting in Poznan, Polen. Lecture with co-author Zvi Koren, Israel: “Hexaplex snail sex and the purple pigment”.

Farben bereichern unser Leben. Tierische und pflanzliche Farbstoffe.
Exhibition by Martin Börnchen on natural dyestuffs and purple at the library of the Freie Universitaet, Berlin, Allemagne.

Et s’il ne restait que le Bleu, Groupe Exhibition at ‘Espace Culturel CHRU’ Montpellier, France.

Documentary film on purple art work by French Television (France 2, AND).

The Colour Purple, from the Atlantic to faraway shores, Aquarium La Rochelle.

Teamwork to identify the use of genuine purple in a manuscript (Kroenungsevangeliar) from 9th century AD at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien.


ART Lacoste 2012 – 2017
Groupe exhibition in Lacoste, France.

TERRA X , ZDF 2016 (German Television):
Film “Voelker II, die Karthager” with documentary on purple production in Lacoste.

Mode Pourpre
Exhibition of 18 purple paintings at the roman museum of Alba-La-Romaine, France.


Zimmermann, Inge (1978) Kanvas Moderen PT Intermasa, Jakarta, Indonesien.

Boesken Kanold, Inge (1999) Indigo et le Bleu de la Bible, Actes de colloque d'Apt-en-Couleur «  La couleur, ce végétal » pp.28-31.

Boesken Kanold, I. (2002) La Cuve de Pourpre par Fermentation
Actes de colloque de “l'Ecole de Printemps”.

Boesken Kanold, I. (2005) The Purple Fermentation Vat: Dyeing or painting parchment with Murex trunculus, In Dyes in History and Archaeology, 20th Annual Meeting, Amsterdam 2001, London, pp.150-154.

Boesken Kanold, I. & Haubrichs, Rolf ( 2005) Tyrian Purple dyeing with Fresh Murex trunculus, DVD

Boesken Kanold, I & Haubrichs, R. (2008) Purple Dyeing with Fresh Murex trunculus in PURPUREAE VESTES II, Textiles and Dyes in the Mediterranean World; C.Alfaro, L. Karali, eds. Universitat de Valéncia, pp.253-255.

Boesken Kanold, I. (2011) Purpurissum: techniques of production inspired by Pliny the Elder. In C. Alfaro, J. - P. Brun, Ph. Borgar and R. Pierobon Benoit (eds), Textiles y tintes en la ciudad antigua. Actas del III Symposium International sobre Textiles y Tintes del Mediterraneo en el Mundo Antiguo (Napoles, 13 al 15 de Noviembre 2008). PURPUREAE VESTES III, pp. 243-246, Valencia.

Boesken Kanold, I. (2013) My work with shellfish purple, in Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers 245, Spring 2013.

Boesken Kanold, I. (2017) Dyeing wool and sea silk with purple pigment from Hexaplex trunculus, in TREASURES FROM THE SEA eds H. Landenius Enegren & F. Meo, pp.67-72, Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Cited in…

De la matière à la couleur
Barbara et Mathieu Barrois, Edisud 2001, p.135.

Ocres et Couleurs du Luberon
Bibliothèque du Travail 1137, PEMF 2002, p.40.

Le monde des teintures naturelles
Dominique Cardon, Ed. Belin 2003, pp.445-446.

Die Farbe der verlorenen Zeit
Maik Brandenburg, MARE, Die Zeitschrift der Meere, Nr. 59, 2006.

Natural Dyes, Sources, Tradition, Technology and Science
Dominique Cardon, Archetype Publications, London 2007, pp.550-606.

Farben bereichern unser Leben. Tierische und pflanzliche Farbstoffe.
Martin Börnchen, Katalog Universitaetsbibliothek der Freien Universitaet Berlin 2009.

Catalogue d’exposition
COLOUR PURPLE, from the Atlantic to faraway shores, Aquarium La Rochelle 2011.

Regards scientifiques sur le site antique de Delos,
Enseignements d’exploration « Methodes et Pratiques Scientifiques ».
Lycée Franco-hellénique Eugène Delacroix Atènes, Juin 2012, pp.20-27.

Teintures naturelles, Karin Delaunay-Delfs, Ed. Eyrolles, 2012, pp. 138-141.

Fascination du Liban, soixante siècles d‘histoire de religions, d’art et d’archéologie, SKIRA, Genève 2012, Musée d’art et d’histoire de la Ville de Genève. « La pourpre du Liban » Rolf Haubrichs, pp. 215-222.

The Rarest Blue, the remarkable Story of an Ancient Color Lost to History and Rediscovered. Baruch Sterman & Judy Taubes Sterman, Lyons Press, Connecticut 2012 p.198.

The Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, 245 Spring 2013, pp. 7-10.

Das Kroenungsevangeliar des Heiligen Roemischen Reiches, Wien 2013, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Weltliche Schatzkammer, Inv.Nr.XIII 18, Kommentarband zur Faksimile-Ausgabe, ed. Franz Kirchweger, Faksimile Verlag. „Die Purpurfaerbung von Inge Boesken Kanold“, pp. 123-124.

Le monde des teintures naturelles, nouvelle édition revue et augmentée, Dominique Cardon, Ed. Belin 2014, p.552 ff.

Mode Pourpre, catalogue du MuséAl Ardèche 2017, Aude Poinsot, « Une artiste invitée : Inge Boesken Kanold, artiste peintre », pp. 96-103.

About my art work with genuine purple

Since decades now, I work with one single colour: shellfish purple. When I started in 1979, purple pigment was non-existent., the colour even was forgotten. As an artist specialised in ancient colours, I was fascinated. I needed to see it. And that meant that somehow I had to produce it myself.

Shellfish purple or royal purple as the ancients named it, has an almost 4000 year old history and that is where my quest began. Sojourning in Lebanon at the time, I opened the snails (
Hexaplex trunculus) as the Phoenicians did to search for the purple giving gland. I managed to stain a sheet of paper, but failed to produce the pigment then.

Throughout several millennia, purple was known as a dyer’s colour and the pigment available only as a result or a by-product of a dyeing bath. Its quality and nuance were never quite predictable as the final product depends on many factors. It comes into being through contact with light and oxygen.

Red and blue purple became tool and goal for an unusual, non figurative expression in a niche of contemporary art: the secretion of the opened snail still imbibed with sea water and applied directly on paper, linen or sheets, undergoes a metamorphosis from a yellowish pus-like substance to one of the highly esteemed nuances of purple.

In 2005 finally, when I rediscovered the purple pigment called
purpurissum by Pliny the Elder, I could enjoy all the possibilities this colour had to offer. In my paintings, I present the natural traces of the snails in contrast to the strictly linear bands of which every single one is of a different hue.

While working with purple in art, my initial starting point is not a preconceived image, but I simply follow the requirements of the material in order to 'fire' my inspiration and come to an unexpected result. In that way I hope to establish a creative dialogue between art, science and a specific colour. I therefore use the opened sea snails directly on paper, old linen or cotton sheets which easily absorb the secreted substance. The individuality of each animal (size, age, sex, food ingested, for ex. polluted sea water) adds to the final outcome of my work. I feel like a ‘chef d’orchestre’: I direct and supervise the raw material to achieve an interesting result. The snail has to die in order to bring to life the royal colour. This bringing to life is a unique experience; at that moment I am the only witness of a mysterious transformation from a colourless substance to a most wonderful hue. Purple - a textile colorant in ancient times – was to become first the tool and very soon the subject matter in my work to express surprise and fascination in front of this phenomenon.



pipette avec pourpre 1979

Test-tube with shellfish purple (Hexaplex trunculus), Lebanon 1979