Post Lot Text
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. 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.