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The Elements of Color: A Treatise on the Color System of Johannes Itten Based on His Book the Art of Color 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471289296
ISBN-10: 0471289299
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover

BY THE SAME AUTHOR: Color Star Johannes has long been considered the definitive color theorist of the twentieth century. His books on color theory and application are standards throughout the world. Now his Color Star helps designers explore a myriad of harmonious colors. The Star consists of eight stencil like disks that can be placed over Itten's color wheel. Designers and artists can selectively examine the relationships of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors by using this unique system. Cool and warm values, complementary colors, and different hues and intensities can all be compared individually, as the designer uses the stencils to see the stencils to see only the wanted colors while masking the rest of the wheel. The Color Star is a useful and innovative tool for everyone who works with color, including students graphic designers, industrial designers, advertising designers, artists, illustrators, color theorists, interior designers, and architects.

Design and Forum

This is the most complete document of one of the landmarks of modern education in art-the famous Basic Course at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany. Itten was the teacher who organized it at the invitation of Walter Gropius. First published in 1963 when Itten was still alive, the book has been revised and updated by Itten's widow, Anneliese Itten and includes new material from the basic course at the Bauhaus, as well as visual examples and descriptions of the refinements made by Itten in later courses in Berlin (1926-1932), Krefeld (1932-1938), and Zurich (1938-1960). The basic course at the Bauhaus was designed as a trial to judge students with varying education, to help them in their choice of a career in the arts, Each of the over 200 illustrations reproduced is described in detail to help the reader understand the purpose of art teaching. The student's original works include studies if nature, pure forms and abstractions, three-dimensional work, and projects in the applied arts. In addition the book includes exciting material on the evaluation of modern art education. The book has universal appeal for a basic course as a means for individual creative growth and it can be used today by students and art teachers as a foundation for their own basic courses.

The Art of Color Nearly 160 full-color charts, diagrams, and paintings illustrates this first publication of the color theories of the famous Bauhaus teacher and painter. Both the physical and emotional nature of color is studies. The seven basic color contrasts are examined in detail, and clarified with 28 full-color reproductions of painting masterpieces, from the stained-glass art of Chartres to the glowing canvasses of Picasso and Klee. The psychological, symbolic, and intellectual effects of color are explored in detail. Included also are an exposition of compositional order, a discussion of color effects in nature, and valuable demonstrations of techniques for bringing two or more colors harmoniously together.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 95 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (January 31, 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471289299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471289296
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Itten's analysis and application of color is thoughtful and scientific. As a practicing art director, I have successfully used the theories and methods explained in "Elements of Color" for over twenty years. I also teach them to my design classes. Whether you use a paintbrush or a mouse, his "seven color contrasts" will prove invaluable.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a professor for 15 years. "The Elements of Color" has been required reading for many of my courses. It is not only enriching as a color theory document, but it helps expand the artist or designers possibility of using, arranging and conceiving color.
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Format: Hardcover
I took an art course to learn about colour and learnt nothing. Then I read this book...It answered all my questions and informed me about areas of colour theory I had never dreampt of. Now I paint with knowledge and confidence.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've seen printed versions of this book and I've been thinking about getting it for a while. Never in my wildest dreams did I think the kindle version would be in black and white. When discussong color and showing diagrams showing the actual colors really helps. I am soo soo disappointed with this purchase. The books content itself is amazing but I'm going to rethink ordering ebooks from amazon in the future.
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Format: Hardcover
Itten, himself is one of the greatest color theorist of our century, and the masterful mind behind the Bauhaus School.

In this book Itten describes his color theory and the facts of his famous "Color Star", which is one of the most strongest tools for color harmony for designers and alike.

Most color books have samples of color harmonies you choose from when you design, or talk about complementary colors, but cant tell you why u use such combinations or so.

If you have an analytical approach to design, rather than just copying what others do, you will love this book. You will begin to understand the language of colors.

Have u ever heard of "the Seven Color Contrast", if not then it is time for you to get familiar about it.

This book is an evaluation of Ittens masterpiece "Art of Color". The chapter on subjective experience of color is very limited in this book.

If you are willing to invest more on color matters buy "Art of Color"

If you are happy to stay with the basics then this book is adequate for your purposes.
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Format: Hardcover
It's been difficult to give a balanced critique. On one hand, "Elements of Color" has a wealth of information, but on the other, it takes serious committment to fully understand and comprehensively apply the information Itten presents. There is much valuable data, but it's interspersed with almost stereotypic, outmoded "Teutonic" concepts; e.g. assigning "Blond Types" springtime, bright, vivid colored topics, while "Dark Types" should be assigned "Night, Burial and dark room" topics. There is much valuable, technical information, but it is like digging through hard stone to find the gold; overwrought and culturally centered, judgemental statements are very common ("red expresses intermediate degrees between the infernal and sublime"... what's this?!?!). Other statements seem value-laden, i.e., "sentimental blue", "angelic pink", "blue reigns supreme"... Some excuse may be found in realizing the concepts in this treatise may have been developed before the Post Modernist Age, which accepts cultural and ethnic diversity, that accepts art and the use of color as being open to various interpretations, that color is certainly relative and greatly subjective, that many statements about color are only opinions... and that there is no absolute truth as to what color is "right" or "wrong". Unless the reader is studious and very serious about trying to unearth the information contained in this book, he or she is much better served by studing Albers or others. Too bad there is no editing, no index, and no glossary. What would Itten think of the book, "Chromophobia"? ... Pablo Tellez
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because I wanted to understand colors, color schemes and theory(ies) better in order to apply to my necklace designs. It's a good book to have in your library, but it won't answer all the questions you may have about some applications. Itten's other books however cover pretty much everything; try The Art of Color, for example, if you'd like learn more about color effects on moods/feelings.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by an instructor. I am new to this crazy pursuit of oil painting. My instructor called this her "bible" of color theory, but I honestly didn't understand much of it. Way too detailed, written in language that may be appropriate for someone who has a degree in fine art or art education, but certainly not for a beginner.
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