Looking at times like some kind of strange fusion of De Stijl abstraction and Tetris, these wonderful colour charts are taken from Color problems: A practical manual for the lay student of color, a book by the American artist Emily Noyes Vanderpoel (1842-1939). Following her ruminations on colour theory, she presents 117 coloured plates including colour analysis of various objects, such as Assyrian tiles, Persian rugs, an Egyptian mummy case, and even a teacup and saucer. Vanderpoel — who primarily worked with watercolours and oils, and held the position of vice president of the New York Watercolor Club - doesn't really elaborate on the process by which the blocks of colour come to be arranged in the specific arrangements we find. What is clear, as John Ptak notes, is that Vanderpoel "sought not so much to analyze the components of color itself, but rather to quantify the overall interpretative effect of color on the imagination".
March 15, 2016
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