The Hidden Sphere
(of Artistic Concerns) Cecil Orion Touchon

Johannes Itten and important texts on color, design and composition

The Art of Color: The Subjective Experience and Objective Rationale of Color by Johannes Itten
This book might be expensive, but what do you expect for such genius. I love this book, and would recommend it to anyone into color theroy. Itten is a color genius, and this book proves it.

The Elements of Color by Johannes Itten, Faber Birren
Reviewer from Chicago
I have been a professor for 15 years. "The Elements of Color" has been required reading for many of my courses. It is not only enriching as a color theory document, but it helps expand the artist or designers possibility of using, arranging and conceiving color.

Design and Form: The Basic Course at the Bauhaus and Later, Revised Edition
by Johannes Itten, Johannes Atten
Itten made the world as we know it today. Without his guidence, none of the products you buy, art you look at, or anything else would be what it is today. If you are a designer or art monger, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It is a discription of his Basic Course (everyone had to take it...) at the Bauhaus in Weimar written by Itten himself.

The Color Star by Johannes Itten
This an absolute must for all people who work with fibre, paint or just want to understand colour. The ultimate colour wheel.

Related books to consider

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers
Josef Albers was the Johannes Kepler of color. Kepler spent his life observing planetary motion, and distilling his observations down to simple laws of gravity. Change planets to color, and gravity to human vision, and you have Josef Albers. This book describes the gravitational laws of color. It has the whiff of simple perfection: you can't change one word without diminishing it. It is the bible of color interaction, and will remain so until an Isaac Newton comes along and explains these laws further. 
In the rare book collection, I had a look at the first edition, from 1963. It's this enormous book with lots of colored paper and plates for you to experiment with. I really wish it were still in print... I'd buy it at once.

The Prints of Josef Albers : A Catalogue Raisonne, 1915-1976
by Brenda Danilowitz, Josef Albers, Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Nicholas Fox Weber
From Publishers Weekly 
The Prints of Josef Albers: A Catalogue Raisonne 1915-1976 collects the graphic works of the legendary abstract artist and Bauhaus design teacher. Early woodcut self-portraits, increasingly abstract lithographs, the famous Homage to the Square, and 10 prints that are the beginning of Albers's experiment in color are all featured here, as are the posters, album covers and greeting cards that Albers created toward the end of his career. The pieces were culled by Brenda Danilowitz, chief curator of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, who's written a lucid introductory essay on the evolution of Albers's oeuvre. 

Toward a Psychology of Art : Collected Essays by Rudolf Arnheim

The Dynamics of Architectural Form : Based on the 1975 Mary Duke Biddle Lectures at the Cooper Union by Rudolf Arnheim

Art and Visual Perception : A Psychology of the Creative Eye by Rudolf Arnheim

The Power of the Center : A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts : The New Version
by Rudolf Arnheim
The book reads like a complicated mathematical college text book. The author either tries to impress you with his knowledge of the english language or confuse you with the ideology behind his observations in artistic composition. I found the book to be very confusing and at times boring enough to put it aside and read something else. The author does relate some good input when critiquing paintings but you need pay complete attention to the beginning of the book in order to understand his complicated formulas. It is definetely not an easy read, and not for the artist. This book is for the art critic who tries to find scientific formulas for the study of composition.

The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors and Their Applications to the Arts
by M.E. Chevreul, Faber Birren
Book Description 
This monumental masterwork by the renowned nineteenth century scientist and authority on color, M.E. Chevreul, is unquestionably one of the greatest books ever written on color; the first English translation is reprinted here with the original color restored and an introduction and explanatory notes by Faber Birren, the leading color authority of the present time. Chevreul's book dominated the schools of Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism, and exerted profound influence on later schools of painting including today's Op Art. Chevreul set forth principles that have become basic in color training throughout the Western world. In his illuminating commentary Mr. Birren shows how many of Chevreul's ideas on color harmony, contrast effects, optical mixtures, and legibility have been validated by modern scientific research in visual perception. mr. Birren also provides a helpful glossary of Chevreul's terminology. Lavishly illustrated, the volume contains many color plates, including 15 plates from the original French edition, photographs of Gobelins tapestries, and full-page reproductions of outstanding Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist paintings. Essential as a reference book for artist and art educators, this volume will also be a source of fresh inspiration for fashion designers, interior decorators, and all others concerned with color in any medium-and it makes good reading for all those interested in the history of men and ideas. 

Color and Culture : Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction by John Gage
Reviewer from Mesa, Arizona, USA
This book is an excellant source of palette development, pigment uses and development as well as color theories throughout history. My students have worn out my copy -- needs to be reprinted and made known in college art departments. Good, solid informational writing and illustrations. A must-have book for artists and students. 

Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism by John Gage
Reviewer from Dallas, Texas
John Gage, the most thorough and clear-thinking historian of color theory, has produced another superb book, rich in references and sound historical bases from which we may go forward ourselves. There are a number of things any reader will delight in finally grasping. With me, it was that interesting distinction between pluralist and unified color modes (page 224) that I finally understand; and there are many other sound explanations that will delight the serious student of color. It is all the more baffling that Gage never reaches a discussion of such things as Land's color theory in relation to Polaroid, and even more important, the workings of color in the computer and its printer. If there ever was a codification millions of colors in relation to primaries it is in the design of these systems used by all of us. Yet Color and Meaning reads as if the computer has not yet been invented. I yearned to get to those chapters, but they were not there. And I regret it. 

Principles of Form and Design by Wucius Wong
This book compiles Wucius Wong's earlier works "Principles of Two-Dimensional Design", "Principles of Two-Dimensional Form", and "Principles of Three-Dimensional Design". It's a good reference for design conventions (similarity, anomoly, gradation, radiation) with examples. Three-d section uses geometric constructions and doesn't use plastic examples. Strong 2-d resource. Less useful for 3-d.

Composition in Art by Henry Rankin Poore
Reviewer: hamsterdance (see more about me) 
This is one of the most thorough books in the teaching and analysis of composition I've ever had the fortune to read. All my other art books mention the neccessity of sound composition and eye movement but none give the detailed breakdown of how that's accomplished or why it fails. This book does. You aren't just told - it's broken down for you explicitly with dozens of examples from famous paintings. All kinds of compositions are examined.

Here is a list of the chapter titles and some (would be tiresome to include it all) of what they teach 
1. Balance - rules, scale of attraction, vertical/horizontal balance, natural balance, apparant/formal balance, balance by opposition of line, balance by opposition of spots, transition of line...etc, etc, etc.
2. Entrance and Exit - getting into the picture, getting out of the picture
3. Circular Observation - circular composition, reconstruction for circular observation
4. Angular Composition - the triangle, the vertical line in angular composition, angular composition based on the horizontal, line of beauty, structural line
5. Composition with One or More Units - 2 units, 3 units, groups, the figure in landscape
6. Light and Shade - pricipality, gradation
Color Plates.....

If you really want to learn composition and get it down cold - get this book. It's a priceless gem.

The Designer's Guide to Color Combinations : 500+ Historic and Modern Color Formulas in Cmyk
by Leslie Cabarga
The publisher, North Light Books , April 30, 1999
This unique and extremely usable resource for today's designer contains 100 years of great color combinations. It contains no color wheels or lengthy discussions on color theory like you'll find in other books . . . just 500+ tried-and-true color combinations inspired by actual design work--from posters to packaging to linoleum floors--created over the past century by designers and artists who really understood color theory. Each section includes real examples of work from a particular era, as well as dozens of color combinations arranged like a designer would use them--in simple, sample layouts showing which colors work well in the background, as borders, for type, etc.

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copyright 2002 Cecil Touchon all rights reserved