Paris, Pitois-Levrault, 1839.
1 volume 8vo [209 x 122 mm] and 1 4to atlas [278 x 240 mm].Text with the half-title. 2 folding tables in the text volume, atlas with printed title, one explicative leaf, 40 partially colored plates, and one text by Condorcet printed on 9 leaves of different colors. (Atlas entirely on guards).
Atlas preserved in its contemporary red quarter-shagreen, text volume in uniform later binding.
First edition of this color theory’s founding text, extremely influential on arts.
En Français dans le texte 237; Norman 468.
First edition of Chevreul’s monumental and extremely influential study on colours.
It formulates for the first time the general principles and effects of simultaneous contrast, the modification in hue and tone that occurs when juxtaposed colours are seen simultaneously.
The author, who was director of Dyeing at Manufactures Royales des Gobelins and professor of chemistry, based his colour treatise on empirical observation, intending it for the use of painters, textile designers, decorators and gardeners, rather than scientists.
Internationally renowned chemist, member of the Royal Society and director of the Natural History Museum, Michel-Eugène Chevreul drew inspiration from his lectures on tapestries at the Gobelins factory to produce this founding work of color theory.
The “law of contrasting colours” states that colours seen side by side will appear to the eye as dissimilar as possible, both in their optical composition and in the height of their tone.
Chevreul’s recommendation that artists decompose colours and imitate nature through the juxtaposition of pure colours was followed by the impressionists and further developed by the pointillists (Seurat, Signac).
This very fine set has the stencil-coloured lithographic plates in the atlas-volume in state A (black backgrounds); other graphic methods employed are engraving, aquatinting, and letterpress on paper of various colours.
Precious copy complete with its atlas composed of 40 color plates.