Professor Aaron Fine travelled to Paris, France this summer with the support of a School of Arts and Letters International Travel Stipend. His research focus for this trip was at the Gobelins tapestry works, a hand loomed tapestry and carpet workshop which has been in nearly continuous operation since the reign of Louis XIV. In particular he was interested in visiting the site where an important 19th century color theorist, Eugene Chevreul, worked for 60 years. The highlight of the visit was meeting Sylvie Heurtaux, who began as a weaver but has come to be in charge of N.I.M.E.S. – the current color system used at Gobelins. This color system is founded on Chevreul’s Chroma Circle with its 72 tonalities, but is otherwise much more up to date in its structure. The N.I.M.E.S. facility has two sets of approximately 15,000 dyed wool color samples arranged according to the three standard measurable properties of color (tonality, value, and clarity) and is calibrated with other standard color systems using computerized colorimetry.
Image of the N.I.M.E.S. Color system courtesy of Manufacture des Gobelins and photographed by Isabelle Bideau.