23 April 2001
GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832). Zur Farbenlehre. Tübingen: J.G. Cotta, 1810.
2 volumes text, 8o (201 x 116 mm) and one atlas volume, 4o (235 x 199 mm). 17 engraved plates, 12 hand-colored. (Light browning to text, old bookseller descriptions taped to front free endpaper). Text volumes: contemporary half sheep and paper over boards, each with gilt lettered morocco spine label (light worming to covers and wear to corners). Atlas volume: late-19th-century half calf and marbled paper over boards, spine gilt lettered, monogram: "E.M." at foot of spine, original printed front wrapper bound in. Provenance: Ernst Magnus: bookplate.
FIRST EDITION. "Goethe's first publications on optics (1791) culminated in his Zur Farbenlehre (1810), his longest and, in his own view, best work, today known principally as a fierce and unsuccessful attack on Newton's demonstrations that white light is composite. Goethe supposed that the pure sensation of white can be caused only by a simple, uncompounded substance" (DSB). Goethe's approach to science was one of sensuous experience and poetic intuition. He expected to be remembered as a scientist and thought his most important work was his Theory of Colors. Hagen 347; Kippenberg I-386 and 387. (3)
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale totals £128,081,750
Textile designer Neisha Crosland on why she was drawn to a Raoul Dufy advertisement for a Bianchini Férier fabric