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The Color Star Paperback – 1 Oct 1986
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Introduction and Instructions Johannes Itten gave his book The Art of Color the subtitle: Pathways to Art-Subjective Experience and Objective Perception. This book deals with colors from a theoretical and from an artist's point of view. It treats the effect and reality of colors, defines the harmony of colors, and gives insight into the subjective color perceptions.
This subjectivity of color perception should not be confused with the way color is used in the fashion scene. Fashion is constantly changing, whereas the subjective attitude toward color has some stability. It is a personal statement and commitment-a reflection of the individual personality. Here one should be careful to avoid general judgements, as preferences and sensitivity in color perception change from person to person. For an objective evaluation and for the application of color schemed, knowledge of the fundamental laws of harmony is crucial. Phillip Otto Runge made the first attempt to establish a color ordering in 1810. For this he used the so-called color globe. Twelve colors were arranged along the equator. Toward the north pole, colors became lighter, and toward the south pole, they became darker. In 1921 Johannes Itten took the color globe as a starting point for his color star, which in turn was the basis for his color theory. The color star, published by the Bauhaus in Weimar, is the color globe projected onto a flat surface. From the centre to the points of the star are white, two lightened areas, the pure colors, two darkened colors, and black (Fig. 1). The circle of twelve pure colors, the constructive basis of Johannes Ittens theory and of colors and, is derived from the primary colors yellow, red, and blue. Orange, violet, and green, colors of the second order, are mixtures of these. With the addition of the six intermediate colors, the color circle is complete. The color circle is arranged so that the complementary colors face each other, e.g., yellow violet or red green. There are six pairs of complementary colors, one obtains gray. Johannes Itten, in his book The Art of Color, summarizes the concept of harmony as follows: Two or more colors are in harmony if they yield a neutral gray when mixed. A further inquiry concerns the composition of harmonic accords with the color spectrum. Itten concludes: In general one can say that harmony exists among all complimentary color pairs and all chords of three or four colors in which these colors enjoy an equilateral or isoscelean relationship, respectively. The colors that are found in the middle of the color star are identical with the colors of the color circle. The eight rotating discs produce forty-nine different, harmonic tones.
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