CHEVREUL, Michel-Eugène. De la loi du contraste simultané des couleurs, et de l'Assortiment des objets colorés. Two volumes. I: xv, , 735 pp., illustrated with two folding letterpress tables. II: , 2 pp. Illustrated with 40 engraved and lithographic plates on 22 ff., of which 13 folding; plates 2 and 3 printed in colour with fig. 12 on plate 2 hand-coloured; plate 4, the chromatic wheel, with over-slip; plates 5-31 and 34-39 stencil-coloured lithographs; plates 32-33 and 40 engraved; plate 33 hand-coloured; plus nine specimens of printing on different coloured papers. 8vo. (text), 215 x 135 mm, bound in new half morocco; and square 4to. (atlas), 290 x 245 mm, bound in publisher's original printed boards. Paris: Pitois-Levrault, 1839.
The First Edition of this landmark treatise on colour, a work which has influenced artists from Seurat to Ellsworth Kelly and beyond.
A professional chemist, Chevreul became Director of Dyeing at the Gobelins royal tapestry manufactory in 1824. Chevreul's "law of simultaneous contrast of colours" states that colours seen side by side will always appear to the eye "as dissimilar as possible, both in their optical composition and in the height of their tone." On this basis Chevreul proceeded to analyze the consequences and applications of colour contrast, i.e., the modifications of hue and tone occurring when juxtaposed colours are viewed at the same time, and he also established a precise nomenclature for colour relationships.
An unusually fine copy of an extremely rare book, without the considerable foxing to the text volume as in almost all copies. In this copy plates 5-7, 8-10, 11-13, 14-16, 17-19, 20-2216 signed plates. 23-25, 26-28, 29-31, 33-39 are signed by Chevreul.
OCLC lists only 3 copies in the US; SUNY Buffalo, NYPL and Hagley Museum.
Norman 469. Birren Collection 143. En français dans le texte 237.
Item nr. 168578