Leipzig: Verlag Unesma G.m.b.H, 1919. First edition. Hardcover. Large Oblong Octavo. (4) 24 (4)pp., 12 plates, plus sleeve with 2 color spectrum ladders. Original orange wraps with black ruling and lettering on cover accompanied by 12 color chart plates and a sleeve containing two color spectrum ladders housed in brown mottled boards portfolio with silver-stamped lettering on cover.
The 24 page b/w illustrated pamphlet provides a general description of the "Body of Color (Farbkörper)" and describes its application in order to designate single colors while illustrating the "Teaching of Harmonic Colors" based on the color combination exemplified on 12 plates (8 3/4 x 12 3/4") featuring rhombuses with 64 vibrant original screen printed color charts in diamond shape, each pasted down to card stock. The inserted sleeve houses two color ladders, one containing the primary colors (Farbnormen nach Wilhelm Ostwald. No. 22 Farbkreis pa Reinheit XIV, 2 1/4 x 12 1/2" with instruction pasted to verso), assigning numbers to the colors, the second (1 3/4 x 4 1/2") with letters revealing the b/w content of respective colors. The pamphlet is illustrated with 9 b/w in-text figures and contains three chapters: The Body of Color, The Designation of Colors, and The Harmony of Colors. The enclosed sleeve contains two charts to identify color norms of respective combinations.
This work was published in 1919, two years before "Der große Farbenatlas (The Great Color Atlas)" which Ostwald had worked on for five years. The "Farbkörper" was published to simplify the designation of color in order to create harmonic color combinations and was published in this form to achieve wide distribution due to its low price. The pamphlet contains advertisements for other Ostwald publications by the publisher on inside and back covers as well as four pages at rear.
Text in German, Gothic script. Light wear along edges of pamphlet with with penciled name on front cover. Light age toning of block. Portfolio with wear along edges, corners lightly chipped with few small stains on covers. Some creasing of flaps with three inch closed tear at bottom of foredge flap. Plates age toned but not affection illustrations. Plate one with some light staining of four of the lighter color rhombuses. Sleeve with minor creasing and slight remnants of white color on one side. Pamphlet and portfolio in very good condition. vg. Item #42414
Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald (1853–1932) was a Latvian born German chemist. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909 and is considered to be one of the founders of physical chemistry. Being a passionate amateur painter he got involved in color theory early in the 20th century publishing his "Malerbriefe (Letters to a Painter)" as early as 1904. After the outbreak of W.W.I Ostwald made his work on color theory his priority. His attempts to establish a color theory were influenced by Albert Henry Munsell and are said to have influenced artists like Paul Klee and Piet Mondrian among others. Though published in Elementary School his broader color theory was not accepted as the scientific standard.