Friday, 24 September 2010
friday man - Wilhelm Ostwald (1853-1932)
In 1909, Wilhelm Ostwald (1853-1932) — who came from the Baltic — received the Nobel prize for chemistry for his work on catalysis. Ostwald, who had been instrumental in the foundation of the first Zeitschrift für Physicalische Chemie, was also something of a pioneer outside his own immediate field.
His final passion, was the theory of colours, and after his retirement (at the age of only 53), he devoted himself to the laws of colour in the hope of developing a scientific basis for their perceived harmonies. His Farbfibel "The colour primer" published in 1916, introduced a colour system devoted to this task (and survived for 15 editions).
Ostwald, attempted to devise a system based on perception and equalising the respective differences between individual colours. He selected an group of variables: namely, colour-content, white-content and black-content. He also introduced the special term "full colour", by which he meant a colour which permitted the sensation of one single colour-tone, and was not tempered by white or black. To be more accurate, we could say that a full colour is an optimally pure colour — in other words, of maximum saturation and at the same time bright.
We can thus formulate the guiding principle behind Ostwald's theory of colour in the following way: the most universal mixture is the mixture of full colours, white and black. Ostwald proceeds systematically, drawing a distinction between chromatic and achromatic colours.
Bio here from coloursystem.com
What I like about Ostwald is, the inclusion of green as a primary. makes sense really - rather than three, his colour circle had 24 hues, and about eight greens.
yellow red blue green. four basic colours: yellow to the north; red to the east; blue (to be more exact, ultramarine) to the south; and sea-green to the west. Theo van Doesburgand images and Piet Mondrian were fans. and I love this Max Bill Print.
Posted by J P at 13:59