Dear Marten: Ochre Red

Dear Marten,

I am taking a class in basic oil painting and we were given a list of 14 colors for our course. One of the colors, Ochre Red, I can’t find on your color chart. I was wondering what the equivalent is. I notice that 347, Indian Red does look similar to what I could find on the internet (but my knowledge on oil paint is very, very limited). I would rather stay with all the same brand if possible, I am kind of OCD that way.

Thank you for your help,


Dear Etienne,

Thank you for your use of Van Gogh oils and for your question.

You are on the right track. Red Ochre is one of the oldest known reds used in art, dating back to pre-history. As a result, it is referred to by several names. The best way to ensure you are getting the correct color, regardless of the brand, is to look on the tube, or the color chart, and find the Color Index Number. For Red Ochre, it is PR 101. The PR stands for Pigment Red.

In the Van Gogh line, both Light Oxide Red 339, and Indian Red 347, contain the red ochre pigment PR 101. Both are excellent colors, are opaque, and have the top lightfastness rating. Light Oxide Red is a series one color vs Indian Red which is a series 2 color. This means that the Light Red Oxide is less expensive. The main difference in the two is that the base pigment, red ochre, has been oxidized for a longer period of time in the Indian Red making the color darker and deeper, and more expensive as a result.

I would recommend using the Light Oxide Red 339. I think it is more representative of the primary red ochre color, and is a great addition to any palette.

I hope this information helps, and enjoy your adventure with oil painting.

Met vriendelijke groet, With kind regards,

Marten Talens

Marten Talens founded Royal Talens, the Dutch Factory for Paints, Lacquers and Inks, in Apeldoorn (the Netherlands) in 1899.

Dear MartenRoyal Talens