Colour in the Making: From Old Wisdom to New Brilliance


Colour in the Making: From Old Wisdom to New Brilliance


28 × 23 cm | 9 × 11 in
300 ills | 240 pages

Contributors: Philip Ball, Mark Clarke, Carinna Parraman

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A visual history of art and design told through the lens of an ever-evolving colour palette—from the discovery and use of early earth pigments, through to organic chemistry and into the manufacture of contemporary dyes, inks, printing techniques. Throughout this sumptuously colourful book, studies of artists’ and designers’ projects illustrate the often-overlooked inventions and processes involved in colour making.

Various illuminating essays explore the history, theories and techniques of colour making chronologically, and provide a compelling account of the reciprocal relationship between art and science in colour creation and development throughout the ages.

Mark Clarke discusses colour innovations up until the Renaissance; Philip Ball focuses on the advances in organic chemistry in the nineteenth century; and Carinna Parraman examines the future of inks and paint making.

These essays are accompanied by fascinating studies such as Vincent van Gogh’s predictions for colour uses in his personal letters; Master Pigments' efforts to recapture surface effects of organic paints; Yves Klein’s patented shade of blue; Cory Arcangel’s beautiful Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations; and Jessica Stockholder’s immersive work Color Jam, which enlivened the streets of Chicago.

Through the book’s vibrantly illustrated essays, and the in-depth studies that complement them, Colour in the Making uncovers an important and sometimes overlooked history of art and design, showcasing the innovations that made the reproduction of coloured objects possible.