Michel Eugène Chevreul
Following his groundbreaking 1839 treatise on simultaneous contrast, Michel Eugène Chevreul spent 25 years designing one of the first color systems to include brightness and chroma, or saturation. This plate shows 72 hues at maximum chroma; nine color wheels shading progressively toward black follow it. The book also includes 20-step scales showing shades and tints, the progression toward white.

Chevreul’s system of color analysis was developed for the use of painters, textile designers, decorators, and gardeners. In this treatise, he returns to the domain of science and pure technique, presenting the results of 25 years of research and experimentation. Building on his earlier work, he establishes a precise nomenclature of colors, applying specific technical meanings to the terms ton gamme (color scale) and nuance, and sets forth a highly detailed classification scheme of colors. His series of ten chromatic circles, diagramming the variations in color obtained by the progressive addition of black to the basic colors of red, yellow and blue, show nearly 15,000 different shades of color.

“Color itself is a degree of darkness.”


Goethe on the Psychology of Color and Emotion

on November 20th, 2018