Monday, 5 May 2014

The Art of Colour

The Art of Colour
Johannes Itten
Van Nostrand, New York, 1973

Originally published as "Kunst der Farbe", 1961, Germany.

Johannes Itten taught at the Bauhaus before he disagreed with Walther Gropius over the direction of the school toward mass production over individual artistic endeavor. He left and was replaced by Maholy-Nagy. Itten continued to write and teach at a number of other institutions.

Here are some students from Itten's harmonic colour combination art class. After voicing their dissatisfaction with the colour combinations they had been assigned, Itten allowed them to come up with their own combinations.

Every student produced different results and Itten realized that each had their own private conception of colour harmony, or subjective colour. He discusses the way the students' work reveals their 'auras' and 'painting personalities', a classic example of the modernist urge to categorize and order, with a dash of mysticism thrown in.

Itten's colour harmony diagrams have their own geometric beauty.