On Kickstarter were raised money for a 100-year book on color theory

2 min


Geometric illustrations by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel look like they were designed using a computer.

In 1902, the book “Color Problems: A Practical Manual for the Lay Student of Color” by American artist Emily Vanderpoel, containing an overview of the basic ideas of color theory, as well as original approaches to the analysis and interaction of colors, was published. Vanderpool conceived the work as a guide for florists, decorators, lithographers, and sellers who wanted to decorate the windows of their stores.

In November, the manual will be published again in paperback and in an exclusive binding. Now the book can also be found in the public domain, but the illustrations to it are presented in poor quality or worse – they are generally discolored.

“Color Problems” will be released again thanks to the collaboration of The Circadian Press and Sacred Bones Records, which launched the Kickstarter campaign. The founder of The Circadian Press, Keegan Mills Cook, was amazed at how the drawings created more than a hundred years ago looked modern.

Vanderpoel grids remind the famous series “Homage to the Square” by the artist and designer Joseph Albers, created half a century later. Emily Vanderpoel was not the first theorist who smashed colors into cells, but for the first time presented real objects in the form of pixels to demonstrate the optical color effect. For example, a table with the inscription “Analysis of the color of Chinese porcelain” consists of “pixel” azure, turquoise, lilac and ocher spots.

Vanderpoel calls the world around the best teacher. She insists that you should not mix extreme shades of the same color. For example, if you put a crimson American rose next to an orange-red geranium, “they spoil each other, and therefore become unpleasant.”

Although the artist actually created a set of rules, she recognized that the change of light, form, and texture of an object, as well as the mood, cultural heritage and physiology of the observer make objective truth almost impossible.

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