I was to find out more about the colour theories of Michel-Eugene Chevreul and make notes on how particular artists have used Chevreuls theories to expand the possibilities of painting.
Michel-Eugene Chevreul was a French Chemist one of his achievements was the development of a type of candle to which he obtained a patent. It was said to become a the most popular candle in France.
Later in his career, he became director of dyeing at a tapestry works in Gobelin. In his first year as director he heard complaints in relation to tapestry colours being poor, which he found the cause to be optical. He spent time investigating the mixing of colours and found colours had influence over one another when placed side by side. Also, he felt our optical effect when looking at colours will also have some bearing on them and how we observe them. For instance, if we stare at blue square for a short time, then move our eyes to a white background we see a yellow square after image which within a short space of time fades from view, the reason for this is we have red, green, blue colour receptors within our eyes, and when one of the colour receptors is fatigued by over reception the complimentary colour can be observed in a ghost view.
Chevreul wrote a book on colour theory which in the 19th Century was widely used as the colour manual by artists, designers and decorators. It was influential with the work of Impressionists and their search for colour brilliance, experimenting with the juxtapose application of colour allowing the colour mix to be done by eye.
George Seurat the pointillist met Chevruel and experimented with his colour theories, his paintings show the play of light where dots of colour are applied to his support and leaving the eye to mix the tiny applications of colour forming an image.
Josef Albers artist and art educator was inspired by Chevruel’s findings, he published a book looking at colour phenomenon, which is said to have 150 colour plates in relation to the subject. He became a very influential art educator.
Then around the 1910 there was a movement developed called Simultanism by abstract artists Robert Delaunay and Sonia his wife . The word simultanism was taken from the theories in Chevruels book of colour theory, De la loi du contraste simultanée des couleurs. The Delaunay experimented with patches of abstract colour to create movement and light.
Chevruel and Albers were two artists to influence the Op and Kinetic artist Carlos Cruz-Diez with his use of colour and style of art. Some of his pieces, with their coloured juxtapose lines create visual affects causing the viewer to see changing colours as they move around to view the piece. The shapes within shapes seem to hover and alter, I must admit they have an odd effect on your eyes, I am not sure I would like to look at them when I have a Migraine.
I have just brushed the surface of this interesting topic, the enormous influence of Chevruel’s research not only effect those that read his studies, but those that studied the studiers. There is no doubt one colour does influence its neighbour and the subject is a very interesting one, but not all artists felt the research of Chevruel was the colour Bible. Monet for one who was said to be preoccupied with garden colours and its powerful contrasts, didn’t feel it was wise to be over reliant on Chevruel’s colour wheel. I think I will have to study the subject more to be able to come to a more educated view, but in this modern world I am sure most of us have seen in one way or another the way colours do have an effect over one another.
Costa, A. B. (2017, June 21). Michael-Eugene Chevreul. Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Michel-Eugene-Chevreul
Courthion, P. (2017, June 26). Georges Seurat. Retrieved from Encyclopaedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Georges-Seurat
Unknown. (2017, 6 27). Mastering colour: Franco-Venezuelan kinetic and op artist Carlos Cruz-Diez at Puerta Roja, Hong Kong. Retrieved from Art Radar: http://artradarjournal.com/2017/05/16/mastering-colour-franco-venezuelan-kinetic-and-op-artist-carlos-cruz-diez-at-puerta-roja-hong-kong/
Unknown (2017, 6 27). USING COLOUR. Retrieved from SMITHSONIAN LIBRARIES: http://library.si.edu/exhibition/color-in-a-new-light/using
Physclips. (2017, June 23rd). Complementary colours, after-images, retinal fatigue, colour mixing and contrast sensitivity. Retrieved from Physclips.
Roque, G. (2017, JUNE 23). CHEVREUL’S COLOUR THEORY. Retrieved from CHEVRULS LAW F1 WEB: http://www.colour.org.uk/Chevreuls%20Law%20F1%20web%20good.pdf
Unknown. (2017, 6 27). Simultanism. Retrieved from Tate: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/s/simultanism