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
A new exhibition at Christie’s explores the art historical influences behind Dolce&Gabbana’s Alta Moda, Alta Gioielleria and Alta Sartoria collections
The Schøyen Collection houses important important books, manuscripts and related artefacts, including some notorious Shakespeare forgeries that will be offered for sale at Christie's on 11 December