Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/exhibitions/1108750009/

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

Color is an illusion, but not an unfounded illusion. —C.L. Hardin, Color for Philosophers, 1988. Color shouts or whispers to us from every corner of our world, saturates nearly every surface we touch. An objective, quantifiable event, color is also a subjective personal experience, different for every person and deeply intertwined with language and memory. Color perception is an elusive, complex phenomenon that is still not fully understood, despite centuries of research by artists and designers, scientists and philosophers. Yet designers deploy color everyday, across an incredibly wide array of media. Used effectively, color helps us to navigate our physical world, organize and ingest information, and make decisions as consumers. Saturated brings together extraordinary rare books from Smithsonian Libraries and compellingly colorful objects from Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection to explore how the sensory experience of color has been conceived by history's greatest color thinkers, visualized with graphic tools and models, and used by designers to bring both order and excitement to our visual world.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318792696/

  • Designed by Olivia Vane
  • Courtesy of Olivia Vane

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749925/

  • Purchase from the Margery Masinter Endowment, Smithsonian Libraries, ND1280 .C523 1864
  • spectrum
  • color wheel
  • color model
  • saturation
  • hue
  • chromatic

Following his groundbreaking 1839 treatise on simultaneous contrast, Chevreul spent 25 years designing one of the first color systems to include brightness and chroma, or saturation. This plate shows 72 hues at maximum chroma; it is followed by nine color wheels shading progressively toward black. The book also includes 20-step scales showing shades and tints, the progression toward white.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749859/

  • Gift of J. Townsend Russell, Jr.,Smithsonian Libraries, ND1488 .F453c 1817
  • triangles
  • color harmony
  • additive color mixing

George Field stated, “. . . the most proper figure in which to illustrate the correlations of colours is the equilateral triangle.” His books also explored the harmonic relationship between color and music, and were owned by Hudson River School painters Frederick Church and Thomas Cole.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749929/

  • Gift of Walter C. Granville, Smithsonian Libraries, ND1493 .O85 1928
  • color theory
  • color wheel
  • saturation
  • hue
  • chromatic

Chemist and Nobel Prize winner Wilhelm Ostwald was influenced by Ewald Herring’s opponent color theory, and based his color model on red/green and yellow/blue opponent pairs. Inspired by Munsell, he used bi-colored spinning disks to “scientifically” calculate intermediate steps, but of course the measurements were still based on his subjective perception.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749927/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, N7430 .U86 1921X
  • Bauhaus
  • color theory
  • abstract
  • lithograph
  • tones
  • complementary colors
  • color value

Professor Johannes Itten created a color sphere, represented by this 12-pointed star, as a tool for students at the Bauhaus. Itten failed to incorporate more recent discoveries made by Albert Munsell regarding the relationship between value and saturation, which resulted in less symmetrical models.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749937/

  • Gift of Dorothy Nickerson, Smithsonian Libraries, QC495.2 .H58
  • color theory
  • offset lithograph
  • color wheel
  • hue
  • color manual

Sven Hesselgren theorized that we have greater color acuity for certain hues—that we are able to distinguish more shades of red or yellow than green. The spacing of the colors on his wheel reflects our relative ability to perceive different colors.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749931/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, QC495 .J6 1952X
  • lithograph
  • achromatic color
  • saturation
  • hue
  • color scheme
  • chromatic

As a physicist, Tryggve Johansson was deeply influenced by the work of Ewald Hering, who introduced the concept of opponent color theory, in which the photoreceptors in the retina (cones) are linked to process three contrasting pairs of stimuli: red/green, blue/yellow, and light/dark.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749881/

  • Gift of Walter C. Granville, Smithsonian Libraries, ND1492 .B57 E1876
  • color wheel
  • color model
  • saturation
  • hue
  • brightness

The color wheel is a graphic tool for organizing hues, but it does not address the concept of brightness. Wilhelm von Bezold created a cone-shaped model, using black at the top and white at the base. He based his model on the trichromatic theory that our eyes have three color receptors (cones) that create all colors by mixing red, green, and blue, the primary colors of light.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749947/

  • Gift of the Color Association of the United States, Smithsonian Libraries, ND1280 .H5n 1846
  • nature
  • triangles
  • color theory
  • color harmony
  • secondary colors
  • color nomenclature
  • primary color

David Ramsay Hay, a Scottish interior designer and Decorator to the Queen, was interested in developing a system for decorators and architects to understand and apply color harmonies. In contrast to the many color wheels of the period, Hay’s model is based on the triangle, which he believed to be the most harmonious of the geometric forms.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749935/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, QC495 .O85 1927 quarto
  • color theory
  • primary colors
  • complementary colors
  • achromatic color
  • color harmony
  • hue
  • color value

These cross sections of Ostwald’s double cone model reveal his systematic mapping of three color qualities: hue, whiteness/blackness, and chromaticness or saturation. His numerous publications devoted to color harmony sparked much debate and inspired several related color systems.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749913/

  • Gift of Burndy Library, Smithsonian Libraries, QC353 .N56 1704
  • light
  • reflection
  • spectrum
  • color theory
  • color
  • additive color mixing
  • refraction

By passing sunlight through a series of prisms, physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton proved that “white” light is composed of the all the colors of visible light. By scientifically establishing the visible spectrum, Newton laid the foundations of color theory, leading to breakthroughs in optics, physics, chemistry, and perception. He also created the first science-based color wheel by bringing together the two ends of his spectrum. “In one sense this is not right at all, but in another it all works out rather well: the resulting circle feels balanced and is functional.” (David Batchelor, The Luminous and the Gray)

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749939/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, Q155 .K56X 1671
  • light
  • black and white
  • engraving
  • spectrum

Kircher believed that all colors could be reached from black and white. In his early color diagram, white (albus) and black (niger) appear on opposite ends, with the three primary colors—yellow (flavus), red (rubeus), and blue (caeruleus)—in between. Semicircular arcs represent the mixing of colors.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749941/

  • Gift of Bern Dibner, Smithsonian Libraries, QC380 .Z19
  • triangles
  • optical effect
  • spectrum

Predating Newton’s Opticks by two years, Johann Zahn’s system was one of the last extending from the classical tradition of color theory established by Aristotle. Zahn’s color diagram takes the shape of an equilateral triangle, with black and white at opposite ends of the base and yellow, red, and blue in between. Lines connect colors on the opposite sides of the triangle, creating diamonds of mixed colors.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749845/

  • primary colors
  • color printing
  • cmyk
  • subtractive color mixing
  • secondary colors

One of the rarest and most groundbreaking books on color, J.C. Le Blon’s Coloritto formed the foundation for modern color printing and was the first publication to document the mixing of “primitive” or primary colors to create secondary colors. A printer and engraver, Le Blon sought a method for mechanically reproducing paintings with layered inks. His reduced color palette includes combinations of red, blue, yellow, white, and black, emphasizing ideal mixtures for skin tone in portraiture. It took 100 years for any other printer to be able to replicate Le Blon’s method.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749865/

  • color theory
  • after image
  • simultaneous contrast
  • color wheel

Goethe challenged the theories laid out in Newton’s Opticks, arguing that color was not simply a scientific phenomenon, but a subjective experience. He contributed the first systematic study of the physiological effects of color, which became widely adopted by artists like J.M.W. Turner. While he was best known as a philosopher, Goethe considered Theory of Colors his most important work.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749893/

  • Gift of Walter Granville, Smithsonian Libraries, ND1489 .B811 1895
  • natural color
  • color standards
  • color nomenclature
  • elementary color
  • color instruction

Board game pioneer Milton Bradley sought to educate adults and children about color. As a manufacturer of art supplies and color measurement tools, he was fascinated with finding a precise method for identifying and reproducing colors. Bradley promoted his color wheel as a device that could scientifically match and measure colors using rotating colored disks.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749905/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, QC495 .V3 1903
  • color theory
  • primary colors
  • subtractive color mixing
  • secondary colors
  • additive color
  • color wheel
  • color manual

Artist and philanthropist Emily Vanderpoel describes complex color theories using accessible language. This plate illustrates an optical illusion by which the eye blends colors on a spinning wheel. Here, complementary colors combine to form a neutral gray when the wheel is spun.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749909/

  • Gift of Walter Granville, Smithsonian Libraries, ND1492 .M96a
  • color theory
  • color system
  • color harmony
  • color wheel

American painter and art educator Albert Munsell’s color system uses measured scales of hue, value, and chroma to create his “color tree”—an imperfect sphere based on “perceptually measured equidistance” that he determined using spinning color tops. The Munsell system was used by pioneers in colorimetry as a bridge connecting human visual perception with empirical data gathered by scientific instruments.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749945/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, QC451 .R793
  • light
  • spectrum
  • flames
  • solar
  • color theory
  • spectroscope
  • color chemistry

When a pure metal is burned and viewed through a spectroscope (an instrument used to measure the wavelengths of light refracted or diffracted from an object) each element gives off unique spectra, a sort of color fingerprint. Spectral analysis led to the discovery of new elements, and allowed scientists to determine the composition of distant planets and stars.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749949/

  • Manufactured by General Electric Company
  • Smithsonian Libraries, 005041
  • science
  • ombre
  • electronics

In Herbert Bayer’s promotional brochure for General Electric, a photo-montaged spectrophotometer is juxtaposed with a rainbow-colored diagram that attempts to convey that this mysterious new device measures color by means of spectral reflectance. Spectral reflectance is expressed as a curve representing light wavelengths reflected off an object, recorded as numeric points across the visible spectrum. Spectrophotometers are now common handheld tools essential to any industry requiring color measurement.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749943/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, ND1489 .A33
  • squares
  • Bauhaus
  • color theory
  • offset lithograph
  • color harmony
  • color interaction

In this color exercise, Albers demonstrates the phenomenon of after-image, more specifically, reversed after- image. After staring at the image on the left for thirty seconds and shifting your gaze to the center of the white square, the diamond shapes are seen in yellow rather than the expected after-image complement, blue.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18433055/

  • oil paint on composition board
  • Gift of Hilaire Hiler
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • spectrum

While living in Paris before World War II, writer, philosopher, jazz musician, WPA artist, and color theorist Hilaire Hiler associated with avant-garde artists like Marcel Duchamp, Constantin Brancusi and Man Ray. Inspired by Ostwald’s color system, he worked to design a color system for painters. His wheel includes 30 hues, plus tints, tones, and shades (created by adding white, gray, and black). A rotating disk in the center identifies complementary colors and certain harmonies.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18198991/

  • brush and oil, graphite on paperboard
  • light
  • landscape
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • rainbow
  • gradient

Water droplets behave much in the same way as Newton’s prism, splitting white light from the sun into its component colors to form the rainbow. It is easy to imagine that this spectacular natural phenomenon, captured in this oil study by Frederic Church, inspired scientists as much as it did artists.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18453625/

  • brush and tempera on illustration board
  • multicolored
  • spectrum
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color

Theorist, mathematician, and composer Joseph Schillinger worked to establish accessible scientific theories to explain musical and aesthetic concepts such as color and rhythm. Schillinger made these two drawings using the systems he invented for understanding color that he later published in his 1943 treatise The Mathematical Basis for the Arts.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18453631/

  • brush and tempera on illustration board
  • multicolored
  • spectrum
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color

Theorist, mathematician, and composer Joseph Schillinger worked to establish accessible scientific theories to explain musical and aesthetic concepts such as color and rhythm. Schillinger made these two drawings using the systems he invented for understanding color that he later published in his 1943 treatise The Mathematical Basis for the Arts.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18799775/

  • color pencil, graphite on cream wove paper
  • music
  • triangles
  • color gradation
  • translation
  • visualization

This and the following four drawings translating Wagner's "Die Walkure" relate to a piano transcription by L. Brassin and revised by William Scharfenberg. The score has 78 measures and is in 4/4 time. The first study contains measure 1-20. Measures 1-19 are in the Key of C, and measure 20 is in the Key of E. The color code for notes in this drawing are as follows: Measures 1-3: Treble part -- purple Bass part (chords) -- violet and light violet Measures 4-19: Top treble part -- pink, silver, terra cotta, lemon-yellow, raw-umber Bottom treble part -- lavender, orange, lake-red, gray, yellow, sepia Top bass part -- black Bottom bass part -- violet Measure 20: Top treble part -- blue, gold-ochre-thinex Bottom treble part -- lake red, yellow Staff lines: Golden-yellow, light green Ledger lines: Above and below staff lines -- pink, lemon-yellow, vermillion, lake-red, sky-blue, thinex, gray

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18799765/

  • color pencil, graphite on wove paper
  • Gift of the Estate of John De Cesare
  • multicolored
  • music
  • geometric
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • visualization

The name of John De Cesare (1890–1972) is not unfamiliar to students of Art Deco architecture. For twenty-five years he was an innovative and highly successful architectural sculptor, who provided ornament for some of the earliest and most important Art Deco buildings in America. Between the years 1923 and 1948 John De Cesare’s firm, Stifter and De Cesare, working primarily in conjunction with the architectural firm of Voorhees, Gmelin and Walker (now Haines, Lundberg and Wachler) supplied the sculptural decoration for many New York city structures, including the Empire State Building, the Barclay-Vesey Building, and the Irving Trust Company Building. The Barclay-Vesey Building, 1923–26, now a historic landmark and one of the most distinguished architectural monuments of the 1920s, was the first and most influential example of the "set-back" formula characteristic of skyscraper design in the late 1920s and 1930s. It was also one of the earliest buildings in America to incorporate ornamentation into its design. Lewis Mumford stated that, "the real triumph of the Barclay-Vesey Building is its ornament . . .It is perhaps the first large structure, with the exception of the Auditorium Building in Chicago, to carry through a significant scheme of decoration." By the mid-1940s the International Style in architecture was rapidly making traditional architectural decoration either functionally untenable or aesthetically undesirable, and John De Cesare retired. He did not, however, retire to lament the passing of an architectural era or his own sculptural career. Instead, he began to evolve an intricate and complex theory using the medium of colored pencil drawings. It was his belief that the sounds of music could be made visual. He was well prepared through his formal training and professional career to demonstrate his theories pictorially, as he had extraordinary skills as a draftsman and model maker and produced remarkably beautiful, refined drawings. John De Cesare’s aim was to translate an aural art into a visual art form by systematically translating musical compositions into designs, so that one would actually see in the picture the equivalent of what one would hear in performance. Taking the transposition one step further, he then used these "visual design scores" as the basis for design motifs that could be adopted in various ways as architectural decoration. Interestingly enough, John De Cesare was not a musician, nor did he have any formal musical training. To develop his theory he had to begin by learning the basics of music. At the time of his death, several books pertaining to understanding the elements of music were found in his studio apartment. One in particular, The ABC of Musical Theory, by Ralph Dunstan contains the artist’s notes and comments, and was apparently the primary source of his information about the technical aspects of musical composition. Although De Cesare was not a musician, he was a problem-solver. The enormous complexity of accurately translating the sound of music into a visual art form, while at the same time maintaining an aesthetically interesting design, was a challenge he could not resist. In a short, unpublished manuscript entitled "The Theory of Visual Space in Music," John De Cesare stated that he intended to explore a dimension in music that he felt had not been recognized before: "a visual dimension of space in music." He stated that: there are two kinds of space in music: the space the sound travels through and the space forms created by the different parts heard in relation to each other. The last point is significant. On an actual musical score, each part is written on a separate staff, but in performance the notes played by each of the musical instruments are heard simultaneously. "Space form," therefore, is the term the artist uses to refer to his personal visualization of the sound of the musical score. In order to devise a system of visual "space forms," De Cesare created a new vocabulary of visual forms that represented the equivalent of traditional musical notation. With this vocabulary, the viewer can "read" the drawings in much the same way as he would "read" a musical score. The artist determined that: Music has two geometric elements within its structure. A horizontal and a vertical reciprocally related. The horizontal movement from left to right indicates the duration (or time value) of a note and the vertical, or up and down movement, indicates the pitch (or position on the staff). Since a musical note contains both duration and pitch, it forms a geometric unit in the form of an angle. This angle can be considered the space form. Using an angular geometric shape to symbolize a standard musical note, he varied its width to suggest the length in time, and its position on the staff to indicate the pitch. The direction of the angle up or down indicated the bass or treble clef. He created forms of entirely different shapes to symbolize vocal parts. He used color to clarify visually each line of music (for instance, in a simple score, violet "notes" might indicate notes in the treble clef and red "notes" those in the bass clef). As in a traditional musical score, the artist used staffs, ledger lines, and measures for framework. However, since his intention was to represent musical compositions as they are heard, he superimposed the notes from all the staffs of a score onto a single staff, allowing the viewer to see what he would hear in a performance. De Cesare drew upon a variety of compositions for his translations, including the works of Stephen Foster, "Silent Night," "The U.S. Army Bugle Call: Taps," and "The Star-Spangled Banner." His most important sources, however, were classical works by Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Dvorak, Donizetti, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, and Bach. He often chose a particular score or arrangement because it provided him with a vehicle for experimenting with certain aspects or problems involved in the translation. For example, he chose a piano arrangement of Bach’s "Toccata and Fugue" because he wanted to deal with the representation of chords: Single notes are not difficult to represent. It is in the chords where the difficulty presents a temporary problem. One chord following another makes it necessary to alternate the colors in order to maintain the legibility of the individual notes as chords. He found it a relatively simple matter to depict musical scores that were written for only one instrument. In referring to three drawings relating to the famous Sextet from Lucia Di Lammermoor by Donizetti, the artist says: This composition was chosen to see how many parts can be included in a visual interpretation of a musical score. This particular arrangement contains eleven different lines of written music: six vocal parts and five instrumental parts. An even more complex score is an arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in B-flat with twenty-nine instrumental parts and one vocal part. A second aspect of John De Cesare’s project was to create architectural designs and ornamental motifs developed from his musical translations. For instance, in a study for a Bell Tower, he determined the dimensions of the building, its form, and designs for the decorative detail from certain measures of an arrangement of Bach’s "Ave Maria." In another case, he used the melody line from "The U.S. Army Bugle Call: Taps" as the basis for the wrought iron grill-work decoration of a gateway to a military cemetery. Extracting the vocal part of "The Star-Spangled Banner," he created numerous architectural decorative motifs, designs for wall murals, for door knobs, gates and entranceways, and patterns for accessories, like rugs. In all these drawings, what appears on the surface as abstract decoration, is, in reality, readable as measures, phrases, periods, or even whole score lines from specific musical compositions. Although the subject matter in the drawings is most frequently related to musical scores, the earliest drawings were inspired by non-musical topics. Charts included in the 1949 Annual Report for the General Foods Corporation were the basis for a series of designs of linear motifs for an imaginary façade of a General Foods building. Photographs published in the New York Times provided the impetus for a series connected with the Berlin airlift, and several news photographs about nuclear bomb explosions were incorporated into his drawing relating to Wagner’s "Fire Music" from "Die Walküre." Beyond the drawings’ function as the embodiment of the artist’s theories is the consideration of the draftsmanship. The intensity of the numerous colors which emanate from the drawings with a mosaic-like brilliance, along with the refinement of the drawing style and the meticulous rendering of detail, results in images of compelling beauty. The intricacy of the designs is not unlike oriental rug patterns in which the complex interlacing of a variety of shapes results in a harmonious and visually pleasing whole. The artist was totally in control of the colored pencils that he chose as a precise but flexible medium to carry out his involved, imaginative conceptions. It is surprising that De Cesare did not consider the drawings to be finished works of art. Rather he viewed them as studies, or working drafts which represented step-by-step solutions to problems he had set for himself. He was at the same time fully aware of the remarkable intellectual and artistic achievement his drawings represented. In retirement, living as a virtual recluse, John De Cesare worked continuously for twenty years developing his theories. According to his careful explanatory notes, he apparently produced over three hundred drawings. It was his wish that the drawings remaining in his studio apartment be shared by his family with a museum. It was the Cooper-Hewitt Museum’s good fortune that in honoring his wishes the De Cesare family chose the National Museum of Design as the most fitting repository. John De Cesare was born in Palermo, Italy, in 1890. In 1895 his family moved to New York City, where the artist remained until his death in 1972. He received his training at the Mechanics Institute, Cooper-Union, and the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, all in New York City. For a number of years during the 1930s he served as juror for the prestigious sculpture competitions held by the Beaux-Arts Institute.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18618049/

  • screenprint on paper
  • Gift of Various Donors
  • graphic design
  • branding
  • optical mixing
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color

Designer Ken White nests IBM’s familiar corporate identity within the highly recognizable dot patterns of the Ishihara color blindness test. In this clever context, “color blindness” serves as a powerful signifier for the company’s long-standing commitment to being an inclusive, equal opportunity employer.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18645697/

  • lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Steven Heller and Karrie Jacobs
  • figures
  • graphic design
  • political poster
  • complementary colors
  • infrared

Almost all living and nonliving things emit infrared radiation, or heat. While these long wavelengths fall beyond the visible spectrum, thermal imaging uses temperature to form a picture of objects, even in total darkness. In this activist poster, the bodies of soldiers radiate heat visible in red, orange, yellow, and green tones.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/136300661/

  • digital print on paper
  • Gift of twenty2 wallpaper
  • ombre
  • optical effect
  • color gradation
  • complementary colors

In this 3D or anaglyph paper, two identical images are printed slightly off-register, one in red and one in blue. When viewed through the red and blue lenses in the anaglyph glasses, only one of the two images is seen by each eye. The brain then fuses these images into the illusion of three-dimensional space.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/51497211/

  • cotton
  • Museum purchase through gift of Wolf-Gordon, Maleyne M. Syracuse and Michael Trenner in memory of Richard M. Syracuse, and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • color gradation
  • gradient
  • optical mixing

Grethe Sørenson has captured in cloth a film made by her husband, Bo Hovgaard, of Shanghai at night. Subtle gradations of color are created using thread “pixels” of red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and white, creating an almost photorealistic reproduction of the image.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18616235/

  • computer ink plotter print on paper
  • Gift of Beck & Jung
  • digital
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • computer design

The Chromo Cube was designed to showcase the capabilities of the software Color to apply color gradients to a 3-D rendering. The software could create smooth color transitions by incrementally adjusting the dot density; the program also allowed for up to 25 different dot patterns.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18805771/

  • computer ink plotter print on paper
  • Gift of Holger Backstrom and Bo Ljundberg
  • digital
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • spectrum
  • gradient
  • computer design

In this demonstration of the capabilities of Color—an early color management software—the rigid geometry of the cube contrasts with the soft depth of the cloudy sky. At a distance, the dot patterns of the sky mix optically to create subtle color changes; a closer look allows the viewer to see the varied dot patterns that create the richly textured image.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749977/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, N5771 .Z34 1828
  • Pompeii
  • color
  • classical motifs
  • painting

Printed over one hundred years after Le Blon laid the foundations of the color printing process, Wilhelm Zahn’s book was nevertheless one of the first ornament pattern books created using color lithography, or chromolithography. Looking closely one can see pinhole registration marks used to align multiple plates when applying different colored inks. Zahn traveled to Italy in the 1820s, where he recorded the ornamental designs on wall paintings in Roman villas at Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/588739895/

  • Designed by Don Flood
  • digital print on mylar
  • Gift of Astek Inc.
  • iridescent
  • insects
  • analogous color

The iridescent green of the rose chafer beetle is the result of left circularly polarized light. In this wallpaper, the beetles are printed in translucent inks on Mylar, a highly reflective polyester film. The light reflected off the Mylar and through the inks mimics the iridescent effect.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68250891/

  • Designed by Ingo Maurer
  • Manufactured by Ingo Maurer GmbH
  • mouth-blown glass, 3d-printed (flexible free-formed) plastic, machined brass, halogen light source
  • Gift of Ingo Maurer GmbH and Graham Owen
  • interior
  • interior decoration
  • lighting
  • butterflies
  • wings
  • domestic interiors
  • decorative
  • nature
  • brightly colored
  • bulbous
  • insects
  • flight
  • colorful
  • lamp

This is among lighting designer Ingo Maurer’s most imaginative works. Realistic handcrafted insects are mounted on a 3D-printed band, as though caught flitting around the lamp. Maurer’s unusual combination of industrial and handworking techniques invites the user to ponder nature, light, and the power of attraction and compulsion.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18451303/

  • carved and pierced ivory sticks, peacock and peahen feathers, gilt metal bail, silk tassel
  • Gift of Mrs. James M. Breed
  • women's fashion accessories
  • personal environmental control
  • feathers
  • iridescent

The dazzling iridescent colors of a peacock’s tail feathers are created without the use of any real pigmentation at all. The colors are caused by light interference, an optical phenomenon produced by micro-structures of the feather which cause the light to refract or bend. Such colors are called “structural colors.”

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18318821/

  • cotton ground, beetle elytra, gold foil strips, gilt sequins, gold metal-wrapped silk thread
  • Gift of Sarah Cooper Hewitt
  • iridescent
  • insects
  • women's fashion

The iridescent elytra, or wing casings, of the Buprestidae Jewel beetle have been used for centuries to adorn clothing and jewelry in India. In the 19th century, an export trade developed around Calcutta, where gossamer-fine cotton muslins were embroidered with gold threads and beetle wing “sequins.”

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18488125/

  • mold-blown and iridized glass
  • Gift of Stanley Siegel, from the Stanley Siegel Collection
  • interior
  • decoration
  • container
  • home
  • organic
  • multicolored
  • luxury
  • peacocks
  • iridescent
  • art nouveau
  • fans
  • trumpeted
  • striated
  • swirls
  • Favrile

This vase exhibits the brilliant blue tones that Tiffany’s workshop achieved in favrile glass. The “Peacock” vase celebrates Tiffany’s revival of the decorative technique of feathering that had been in use since Roman times. Thin filaments of differently colored batches of glass form long, sinuous lines that were fashionable in the art nouveau style.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18731735/

  • screenprint on white wove paper
  • Gift of Sara and Marc Benda
  • graphic design
  • portrait
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • neon
  • analogous color

Rokuro Taniuchi was an acclaimed illustrator known for his child-like, surreal covers for the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho. In this poster for a 1981 exhibition of his work, a fluorescent pink portrait of a smiling, cigarette-holding Taniuchi floats over a blue-yellow ombre background to produce an image that is emblematic of Yokoo’s Pop-Art, exuberant aesthetic.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18797479/

  • Designed by Ben Shaffer
  • polyester, kevlar
  • Gift of Nike, Inc.
  • personal
  • sports
  • lightweight
  • innovative
  • mesh
  • footwear
  • athletes
  • running
  • marathoners
  • exercise
  • neon
  • logos
  • fluorescent

For the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Nike used Volt, a signature florescent green color, for its footwear across events, venues, and nations. Strikingly visible on the red track—and the medals stand—the eye-catching shoes created a media and fashion sensation.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/152749795/

  • Designed by Sandy Chilewich
  • vinyl, acrylic
  • Gift of Sandy Chilewich
  • dining
  • tabletop
  • fluorescent

The edges of this table runner appear to emit light from within. This luminous effect is due to the transmission of light through the acrylic inserts, amplifying their florescence and seeming to glow.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18463873/

  • Designed by Antony Little
  • screen printed on ingrain paper
  • Gift of Clarence House
  • floral
  • palmettes
  • complementary colors

Complementary colors, when placed side-by-side, seem to have increased chromaticness, making reds appear redder and greens appear greener. The fact that each color also has the same brightness adds to the desired effect of surface flatness, as each color competes for the foreground.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18397201/

  • Designed by Anni Albers
  • silk, cotton
  • Gift of Anni Albers
  • optical mixing
  • complementary colors

In large doses, complementary colors tend to increase the vividness of each color, but in a small-scale pattern, the complements can neutralize each other. Here, Anni Albers uses orange-red and yellow-green together to create a woven pattern that appears calm at a distance, but pops close-up.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18633447/

  • plastic (polyester), porcelain
  • vessel
  • complementary colors
  • mixed materials

Bart Guldemond and Vincent de Rijk worked together, experimenting with new techniques in bonding various materials to ceramics. They eventually succeeded in enveloping a ceramic bowl with polyester resin. The contrast in materials is heightened by the use of complementary colors.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18667507/

  • offset lithograph on coated paper
  • Gift of Design Machine
  • graphic design
  • contrast
  • zigzags
  • complementary colors

Alexander Gelman’s minimal approach to graphic design favors flat fields of color in stark, clean arrangements. In this magazine cover, crisp planes of complementary colors clash in a zigzagging border, which vibrates with movement as the contrasting red and green elements affect the eye’s perception of each half of the design.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18651191/

  • screenprint on paper
  • Gift of Joshua Mack
  • abstraction
  • squares
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • analogous color

A clear understanding of optical effects characterizes the work of Richard Anuszkiewicz, a student of Josef Albers. In this design, each block of yellow, orange, or red is bordered with pale blue, green, or deep yellow, giving the illusion of a continuous gradation from cool and light in the upper left corner to warm and saturated in the lower right.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18480537/

  • screenprint on white paper
  • Gift of the Museum of Graphic Art, New York
  • abstraction
  • squares
  • geometric
  • analogous color

Throughout Homage to the Square, the series that defined the late career of Josef Albers, the artist demonstrates the ways in which colors influence each other by applying a wide variety of colors to a single composition of squares within squares. In this example, the bright violet hue dulls the brilliance of the red tones, and the purple and red planes seemingly recede and advance into space.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18649889/

  • offset lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Gregory Oznowich
  • graphic design
  • multicolored
  • typography
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color

In this poster, a series of dates is rendered in a manner that recalls studies in books by both Chevreul and Persoz exploring how colors “read” against different colored backgrounds. The green seems to pop forward against the red background, its true complement, while it recedes on the purple ground.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749877/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, ND1488 .C52 1839
  • color theory
  • optical mixing
  • simultaneous contrast

Here, colorful dots demonstrate simultaneous contrast, the optical effect that two colors have on each other. The Gobelins tapestry workshop hired French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul to improve the “murky” color of their dyes, but he discovered that it was actually the juxtaposition of colors that made them appear more or less vibrant.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749973/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, ND1285 .W53X
  • color system
  • secondary colors
  • color wheel
  • primary color

After prolonged exposure to a single stimulus, our eyes create an optical illusion called after-image. This color wheel consists of standard hues on the outer circle with their complementary after-image colors on the inner circle. The complementary nature of the resulting colors lends support to the opponent process theory of color vision.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18498023/

  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie J. Schreyer
  • graphic design
  • women
  • nude
  • text
  • exotic
  • psychedelic
  • event poster
  • concert poster
  • graphic designers
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color

Victor Moscoso credits his Yale professor Josef Albers as the influence for a signature feature of his work: the use of vibrating colors. Although Day-Glo or fluorescent inks were widely available in the 1960s, Moscoso declined to use them, relying instead on color juxtapositions to replicate the hyper-saturated color illusions associated with the use of hallucinogenic drugs.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18498025/

  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie J. Schreyer
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color

Victor Moscoso credits his Yale professor Josef Albers as the influence for a signature feature of his work: the use of vibrating colors. Although Day-Glo or fluorescent inks were widely available in the 1960s, Moscoso declined to use them, relying instead on color juxtapositions to replicate the hyper-saturated color illusions associated with the use of hallucinogenic drugs.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749957/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, ND1489.A33
  • circles
  • squares
  • Bauhaus
  • color theory
  • color harmony
  • color interaction

In this color exercise, Albers demonstrates the phenomenon of after-image, more specifically, reversed after- image. After staring at the image on the left for thirty seconds and shifting your gaze to the center of the white square, the diamond shapes are seen in yellow rather than the expected after-image complement, blue.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18651193/

  • lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Joshua Mack
  • graphic design
  • dance
  • contrast
  • complementary colors

Jack Youngerman created this poster as part of a series celebrating the 25th anniversary of New York City Center. The organic yellow forms contrast against the deep blue ground in this complementary color scheme, creating a sense of dynamism that conveys the energy and movement of dance.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18730773/

  • offset lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Niklaus Troxler
  • advertising
  • promotion
  • overlapping
  • typography
  • letters
  • concert poster
  • complementary colors

Niklaus Troxler unites his passions for jazz and graphic design in the posters he produced for Jazz Festival Willisau. In this design, Troxler uses concepts that define jazz—interaction, individuality, contrast, and rhythm—to create a typographical scheme. Rendered in percussive complementary colors, the overlapping letterforms shrink and swell by line, creating a unique graphic beat.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18654247/

  • screenprint on paper
  • Gift of Paula Scher
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • theater
  • theater poster
  • portrait
  • typography
  • diagonal lines
  • singing
  • amplify
  • diagonal
  • mouth
  • complementary colors

Paula Scher’s juxtaposition of a head in blue and white superimposed on a yellow ground makes for an eye-catching poster. Using complementary colors to draw attention, Scher’s poster for a production at The Public Theater also recalls the bright hues of Pop Art and Andy Warhol’s color-centric print series featuring the heads of iconic figures.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18730779/

  • offset lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Niklaus Troxler
  • stripes
  • graphic design
  • music
  • posters
  • event poster
  • jazz
  • complementary colors

In Troxler’s Jazz Festival poster from 2005, a complementary color scheme adds dynamism to the image of two musicians playing tuba and saxophone. Since the eye can only view one figure at a time, shifting between the musicians creates an optical movement reinforced by the vibrating contrasting colors, resulting in a graphic expression of the syncopated rhythm of jazz.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18731843/

  • screenprint on paper
  • Gift of Sara and Marc Benda
  • overlapping
  • exhibition poster
  • neon
  • complementary colors
  • bright

Pierre Mendell and Klaus Oberer created this vivid design in three colorways for the Plastics + Design exhibition at Die Neue Sammlung Museum in Munich. The combination of simple shapes and fluorescent colors results in a striking graphic that echoes the synthetic colors found in plastics, while the varied proportions of each color radically change the overall effect.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18794725/

  • airbrush and watercolor, gouache, brush and metallic paint, graphite on paperboard
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • streamlined
  • travel
  • public
  • transportation
  • commercial interior
  • transport
  • seating
  • chairs
  • metal
  • shade
  • trains

Industrial designer Raymond Loewy worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company from 1934–52, designing everything from locomotives to dinnerware. This color concept for the MP-54 passenger car presents a modern restyling of an existing train interior—the linoleum floor, streamlined chair panels, green window shades, and bright yellow seats offer practical solutions for modernizing train transport to attract consumers.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108797981/

  • color pencil, graphite on paper
  • Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • industrial design
  • automobile
  • automobile design
  • concept drawing
  • gradient
  • complementary colors

In the 1950s, innovative automotive styling was essential to selling cars to American consumers, and designers often rendered concepts in eye-catching colors. In this Chevrolet concept, Carl Renner pairs a warm yellow coupe with panoramic green-tinted windows, and places the car against a complementary blue ground.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108798041/

  • color pencil, marker, graphite on paper
  • Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • industrial design
  • curving lines
  • elongated
  • automobile
  • automobile design
  • monochromatic

The elongated body of this Pontiac GTO design is a classic muscle car silhouette. George Camp’s treatment of the car’s alluring red body highlights the vehicle’s curving, aerodynamic form. Though not as powerful as the Italian racing cars that inspired the Pontiac GTO, Camp’s bold, colorful vision of a sleek automobile suggests speed and style.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18670797/

  • cotton, rayon, lurex
  • Museum Purchase from Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program Fund
  • metallic
  • luxury
  • monochromatic
  • automotive design

Women became important car buyers in the 1950s, and car makers designed with them in mind. Gold Ripple-Wave was a luxury interior option on Ford’s 1957 Fairlane 500 Club and Town Victoria, and was offered only in this distinctive yellow and black color combination, to match the two-tone exterior paint finish.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18806259/

  • Designed by Joe Colombo
  • Manufactured by Kartell S.p.A, Milan
  • injection-molded abs plastic, rubber
  • Gift of Dr. Herbert Appel
  • furniture
  • seating
  • brightly colored
  • chairs
  • red plastic
  • molded
  • monochromatic

This lightweight, stackable, indoor/outdoor chair provides a colorful option for flexible seating. Made from a single piece of molded plastic, the opening in the back functions as a grip for carrying the chair, but also allows it to be more easily released from its mold.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18733399/

  • Designed by James Dyson
  • Manufactured by Dyson Ltd.
  • molded abs plastic, polycarbonate, rubber, metal, electronic components
  • brightly colored
  • metal
  • technology
  • rubber
  • plastic
  • cleaning
  • machine
  • yellow plastic
  • monochromatic

Dyson’s Dual Cyclone suction technology made its American debut with the DC07 in 2002, one year after the model was introduced in England. The constructivist aesthetic and bold color scheme suggests a new direction for a common household appliance.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18676975/

  • Manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc.
  • molded plastic, rubber, glass, metal, electronic components
  • rounded
  • recording
  • brightly colored
  • tool
  • work
  • tapered
  • organization
  • making
  • blue plastic
  • monochromatic
  • achromatic color

Besides the intuitive ease with which the iMac could be used, it is the range of candy-like case colors—blueberry, tangerine, strawberry, grape, or lime—that set it apart from its competitors. Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, noted that, “For most consumers, color is more important than megahertz, gigabytes, and other gibberish associated with buying a typical PC.”

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18637131/

  • Manufactured by Homer Laughlin China Company
  • glazed earthenware
  • Gift of Paul Walter
  • earthenware
  • monochromatic

Fiesta dinnerware’s simple art deco style and streamlined shapes were compatible with many styles of interior decoration, allowing homemakers to mix and match these designs with other wares already in their cabinets. Rhead’s ceramics introduced bright spots of color to the plainest of tables, making them a success with American consumers.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/404734373/

  • molded plastic, acrylic, metal, chrome-plated metal
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II
  • appliance
  • entertainment
  • red
  • spherical
  • monochromatic

This portable television can rotate 360 degrees on its pedestal or can be carried by its chrome chain. The plastic housing reflects popular trends of the 1970s, including the use of bright, pop-art-inspired color and an interest in space exploration—the form is a nod to the Apollo 11 astronauts’ spherical helmets.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18648873/

  • molded plastic, metal
  • Gift of AT&T
  • marketing
  • monochromatic

AT&T released the Signature Princess line of telephones after young women expressed renewed interest in the original 1959 design; the 1993 re-release features lighted touchtone push buttons instead of the original rotary dial. Both the Princess and the Signature Princess came in a variety of colors, but the pastel models were the most popular.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18617961/

  • offset lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Various Donors
  • furniture
  • graphic design
  • series
  • polychrome

Nicknamed the Chiclet, after the candy-coated gum, this modular sofa group’s components could be taken apart, rearranged, interspersed with table pieces, and screwed back together using a simple Allen wrench. In this poster, the rainbow of colors serves as a shorthand for consumer choice and customization. In reality, these upholstered pieces were offered in an even greater array of fabrics and colors than those shown, including the option for clients to specify their own fabric.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/69113751/

  • screenprint on paper
  • Gift of Philippe Apeloig in honor of Gail Davidson
  • graphic design
  • dance
  • theater poster
  • typography
  • movement
  • Eiffel Tower
  • double image
  • sinuous

In Philippe Apeloig’s poster for a French production of An American in Paris, color shifts give a striking dimensionality to the Eiffel Tower’s form. Inspired by Gene Kelly’s choreography in the musical film, Apeloig renders the monument in sinuous lines—the double images seem to partner one another in a dance.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108806923/

  • Manufactured by Mira-X International Furnishings, Inc.
  • cotton
  • Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
  • illusionistic
  • color gradation
  • monochromatic

Verner Panton believed that color played a greater role than form in design, but in these dynamic patterns, he plays with both. In each design, the color appears in eight degrees of saturation, from 15% to 100%; the graduated depth of color contributes to a sensation of three-dimensional depth.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68731055/

  • risograph on paper
  • Gift of Felix Pfäffli
  • graphic design
  • typography
  • folds
  • monochromatic

Risography was invented in the 1980s in Japan as a low-cost alternative to photocopying. An image is cut into a master stencil, which is wrapped around an ink drum. The stencil and ink drum are replaced for each additional color. Risography became a popular medium among young designers and publishers in the early 21st century.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18714567/

  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • Gift of William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand
  • communication
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • pattern
  • repetition
  • activist poster
  • typography
  • optical effect
  • 3D

Utilizing red, black, and white in conjunction with the single, geometric form of a square, Christoph Niemann creates a complicated optical illusion in which depth appears variable. Only after careful examination do letters, initially hidden amongst the cubist grid in the background, emerge to spell “Sustainability.”

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749981/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, N7433.4.A94 B73
  • sculptural
  • geometric
  • 3D
  • book
  • color

Like much of Auerbach’s work, this pop-up book uses color to explore a space between two and three dimensions. Each facet of the paper gems appears a slightly different color, and reflections from the yellow page further complicate the interplay of color and form.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/51689423/

  • offset lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Arthur Cohen and Daryl Otte in memory of Bill Moggridge
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • multicolored
  • science
  • triangles
  • promotional poster
  • exhibition poster
  • peace
  • pyramids

As a consultant to General Dynamics in the 1950s, Erik Nitsche produced a graphic campaign that represented the company’s commitment to peaceful progress through nuclear energy. Without illustrating any top-secret products or technologies, Nitsche combined inspiration from modernist fine art as well as science to create a series of abstracted modern graphics. In this poster, subtly duller shades on the right suggest a three-dimensional triangular structure.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68268133/

  • molded porcelain with applied automotive paint
  • Gift of Hella Jongerius
  • vessel
  • monochromatic
  • automotive

In 1997, red cadmium glazes were discontinued due to their toxicity, and bright reds were therefore no longer available for use in ceramics. Jongerius circumvents this limitation through her use of “Toyota Red” automotive paint. The form is cast from shards of medieval pottery, while the color reflects the latest industrial processes.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460615/

  • Designed by Winslow Anderson
  • Manufactured by Blenko Glass Company
  • glass
  • Gift of Damon Crain
  • display
  • drinking
  • red
  • decorative
  • curving line
  • elongated
  • revolve
  • monochromatic

This decanter is an expressive use of Blenko’s signature ruby glass. Patented for use in stained glass windows, the glass could be double fired, which enabled enamel decorators to paint on it. Blenko’s technological advances resulted in a 1929 launch of innovative glass tableware that incorporated creative forms and strong colors.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18423051/

  • blown and drawn glass
  • Museum purchase through gift of Marie Torrance Hadden
  • glass
  • vessel
  • monochromatic

Glass, essentially a mixture of soda, silica, and lime, can be colored through the addition of metals or other materials. Glass makers of the classical Roman era knew that aquamarine blue could be achieved by adding copper, and a deep blue, as in this vessel, with cobalt.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18801213/

  • glazed porcelain
  • Gift of Dr. J. William Fielding
  • decoration
  • container
  • domestic
  • display
  • asymmetry
  • geometric
  • texture
  • color gradation
  • cone
  • monochromatic

The “YKB” of the title refers to the artist Yves Klein, who patented a singular, highly saturated blue known as International Klein Blue (IKB) in 1960. It used synthetic ultramarine, in place of the rare and costly pigment derived from lapis lazuli.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18315581/

  • carved lacquer, wood, silk
  • Bequest of Mary Hearn Greims
  • monochrome
  • lacquer
  • box

Beginning in the 12th century, carved red lacquerware became a popular medium in Chinese decorative arts. Lacquer containing the powder form of the mineral cinnabar (mercury sulfide), applied in dozens, or even hundreds, of layers created a deep vermillion color. The maker would carve the lacquer rather than the wood substrate.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749911/

  • Gift of Virginia Hamill Johnson, Smithsonian Libraries, QC495 .W64
  • watercolor
  • brightness
  • color standards
  • color nomenclature

One of only four known copies in the United States, this early manual on the preparation of colors contains 2,592 hand-colored natural dye specimens. Organized according to color starting with black, it includes color recipes along with details on how to apply dyes to silk, cotton, wool, leather, wood, bone, paper, and many other materials.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18490813/

  • cotton
  • Gift of Max Saltzman
  • sea life
  • monochromatic
  • women's cl

The pattern on this traditional women’s huipil is made with magenta threads colored with the shellfish dye of the marine snail pilcopurpura pansa. Mixtec men activate the snail’s defense mechanism by manually irritating a gland, causing it to release a liquid that is then applied directly to the cotton thread.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18615843/

  • silk
  • Gift of Barbara Rogoff
  • monochromatic
  • synthetic dyes

In 1856, 18-year-old chemist William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered the first synthetic dye while searching for a treatment for malaria. His experiment failed but left behind an oily residue that stained silk a brilliant purple he called mauvine. Synthetic purple dyes soon took the fashion world by storm.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749965/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, TK4198.K76
  • metal
  • electric
  • lighting design
  • color standards

Decorative effects on metals are mostly achieved with chemical patination, plating, and coating to produce a wide variety of colors. This lighting trade catalog presents metal samples in a variety of finishes available in the early 20th century. Original finishes are often lost over time due to exposure and general wear.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18636545/

  • Manufactured by Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
  • glazed porcelain
  • Museum purchase through gift of Mrs. John Jay Ide, in memory of John Jay Ide
  • multicolored
  • complementary colors

In 1800, Napoleon engaged engineer and scientist Alexandre Brongniart as director of the Sèvres porcelain factory. Brongniart introduced new ground colors and patterns to the ceramic designs, made through higher firing temperatures and scientific experimentation with metal oxides. Both the lavender and the green in this ewer are new colors from Brongniart’s era.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/51685031/

  • 3d-printed nylon
  • interior
  • decoration
  • interior decoration
  • home
  • neoclassical
  • display
  • vessels
  • digital
  • historicism
  • brightly colored
  • experimentation
  • concentric
  • ornamentation
  • geometric
  • texture
  • postmodern
  • unexpected shapes
  • innovative
  • 3D printing
  • digital manufacturing
  • monochromatic

This urn, created using additive manufacturing (3D printing), is part of a series originally based on iconic ceramic objects from the first industrial revolution, which Eden elaborates in ways beyond the scope of conventional ceramic techniques. The artist intentionally uses complex structures and bright colors that are impossible to produce with traditional ceramic materials.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18693705/

  • Designed by Eero Aarnio
  • Manufactured by Asko Oy
  • molded fiberglass-reinforced polyester
  • Gift of The Lake St. Louis Historical Society
  • interior
  • decoration
  • organic
  • seating
  • minimalism
  • sleek
  • movement
  • spinning
  • chair
  • monochromatic

The relatively new use of polyester, which is colored by adding concentrated pigments to the still-liquid resin, allowed Aarnio to achieve bright colors like this acid green. Designer and color researcher Hella Jongerius used hundreds of miniature versions of the chair, finding its concave and convex curves to be ideal for studying the effects of light on color and form.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18493167/

  • Designed by Richard Landis
  • linen, polyester
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • gradient
  • complementary colors

Richard Landis, an artist-weaver known for his rigorous color studies, used six thread colors to create a spectrum of 21 shades, each of which appears systematically across the full range of graduated rectangles that form the “windows” in this upholstery fabric.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108954483/

  • blown glass
  • Gift of Neil and Donna Weisman
  • multicolored
  • ombre
  • color gradation

Modern artists like Anzolo Fuga introduced Murano to innovations in color and form while still honoring long held traditions of craftsmanship. This vase shows white areas of lattimo or milk glass interrupted by stripes, rods, and dots of multicolored glass, in a sophisticated multiple casing technique.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18475373/

  • blow and cased glass
  • Gift of Michael Lewis Balamuth
  • decoration
  • container
  • organic
  • multicolored
  • color gradation
  • vase
  • analogous color

The island of Murano in Venice has been an important glass-blowing center for over 1,000 years. An ancient technique called "casing" was used to create the bold organic form of this modern vase, in which dense areas of pure color–azure blue and smoky purple–appear to float weightlessly in a vessel of colorless glass.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/69153305/

  • Designed by Lea Stein
  • laminated, baked, and cut cellulose acetate
  • Gift of Myra Cooper
  • optical effect
  • color gradation
  • gradient
  • complementary colors

Jewelry designer Lea Stein often worked with rhodoid, a plastic material developed by her husband, chemist Fernand Steinberger. Made by stacking and fusing together thin sheets of cellulose acetate, their varied colors are revealed when the material is cut.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18670709/

  • fused colored glass squares, reheated, blown and shaped
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment in honor of Piera Maria Watkins
  • multicolored
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color

Pezzato glass is made by fusing together small squares of colored glass in a patchwork-like arrangement. The resulting flat sheets can then be heated and shaped into a vessel. The bright colors and casual forms of the pezzati reflected a new direction in glass design, popularized especially by Bianconi for Venini in Murano.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18404689/

  • Manufactured by J. C. Arnold
  • block printed on handmade paper
  • Gift of Deutsches Tapetenmuseum
  • interior
  • decoration
  • home
  • flowers
  • op art
  • ombre
  • optical effect

Irisé or rainbow papers were popular from about 1819 to 1830. The stripes of subtly blended colors were intended to mimic the reflective effects of silk wallcoverings. The colors include chrome yellow, a mineral pigment first published in 1809, but not widely available until about 1820.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460625/

  • Designed by Betty Baugh
  • Manufactured by Blenko Glass Company
  • glass
  • Gift of Damon Crain
  • container
  • home
  • undulating
  • drinking
  • brightly colored
  • ombre
  • fire

The bi-color effect in this piece is a result of the heat-reactive glass being returned to the fire, creating the tangerine color. The portion kept away from the fire remains yellow. The strong colors combined with the undulating shallow form and irregular surface reflect the budding studio glass movement.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18731657/

  • blown amberina glass
  • Gift of Paul F. Walter
  • decoration
  • container
  • home
  • organic
  • vases
  • petals
  • ombre
  • ridges
  • tapered
  • color gradation
  • vase
  • gradient

The New England Glass Company was famous for its amberina range, in which successive firings melted metal elements in the glass to enable a gradual shift of color—from a yellowish color at the base to a ruby red higher up. Red, a notoriously fugitive color, escaped re-firing at the top.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18696887/

  • Designed by Gaetano Pesce
  • Manufactured by Zerodisegno
  • resin
  • Gift of Zerodisegno
  • interior
  • decoration
  • seating
  • brightly colored
  • irregular
  • playful
  • analogous color

Pesce’s playful chair embodies diversity within standardization. The liquid resin is poured and hardened into the furniture’s components, which later are assembled with pegs. Following simple guidelines, the maker pours pigmented resin into a mold to achieve a random quantity and mix of colors.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18431747/

  • cotton
  • Gift of Jack Lenor Larsen, Inc.
  • circles
  • domestic interiors
  • overlapping
  • multicolored
  • curtain
  • furnishing fabric
  • radial
  • spectrum
  • analogous color

In this color wheel pattern, eight translucent inks are layered, giving a kaleidoscopic effect at the center.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749867/

  • Bequest of Elinor Merrell, Smithsonian Libraries, TP930 .P46X
  • geometry
  • primary colors
  • optical mixing
  • simultaneous contrast
  • color diagrams

This book was originally created to aid textile designers in the technical aspects of printing multicolor calicos. Later in the 19th century, Impressionist painter George Seurat cited Traité as influential to development of his own novel style of painting, known as pointillism. It was believed that a color mixed on the retina through optical mixing, where small areas of color appear to blend into a new color, would be more luminous than one mixed on the palette.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35520905/

  • organic cotton warp, merino wool weft
  • Gift of Raw Color
  • multicolored
  • bedding
  • experimentation
  • grid
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • blankets
  • gradient
  • complementary colors

This blanket takes the language of the print world—monotone, duotone, and multitoned color blending—and expresses it in weaving. The increasing saturation of the colors is brought about by bringing more warp threads to the surface of the weave structure.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/420562603/

  • Designed by Wallace Sewell
  • 100% wool
  • Gift of Designtex Group
  • multicolored
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color

A “planted” warp, in which multiple colors are arranged in an irregular pattern, is time-consuming and costly to set up on the loom. Master colorists Wallace Sewell designed four unique patterns on the same warp, one stripe and three Bauhaus-inspired grids patterns.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/420562605/

  • Designed by Wallace Sewell
  • 100% wool
  • Gift of Designtex Group
  • multicolored
  • analogous color

A “planted” warp, in which multiple colors are arranged in an irregular pattern, is time-consuming and costly to set up on the loom. Master colorists Wallace Sewell designed four unique patterns on the same warp, one stripe and three Bauhaus-inspired grids patterns.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/554909289/

  • 50% acrylic, 50% polyester
  • Gift of Designtex Group
  • multicolored
  • color gradation
  • gradient
  • analogous color

A color blanket is used in the selection of a palette for a line of woven fabrics. Different colors of warp and weft yarns are interwoven; the crossed colors blend in the eye though optical mixing to create new shades with a depth and textural interest not possible by weaving same-colored yarns.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18788213/

  • acrylic pressure-sensitive film, 3m flexible uv ink print on 3m diamond grade series 4000 full cube prismatic reflective sheeting mounted on brushed sheet aluminum substrate
  • Gift of Donald Meeker, Meeker & Associates, Inc., and James Montalbano, Terminal Design, Inc.
  • instruction
  • communication
  • information
  • numbers
  • typography
  • reading
  • bold
  • letters
  • sign
  • signage
  • highway
  • analogous color

Standardized highway signs use high color contrast and retroreflective surfaces, which reflect light with a minimum of scatter, to increase legibility. This proposed typeface design opens up lowercase letterforms and increases their relative heights, with the aim to improve visibility for older drivers, who often have reduced contrast sensitivity.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18646511/

  • chalk, graphite, color pencil on yellow tracing paper
  • Gift of John Bruce
  • communication
  • industrial design
  • primary colors
  • monochromatic

In this working sketch for Bell Telephone Company, Henry Dreyfuss renders the company’s bell insignia in blue and white against bright red panels. Dreyfuss uses color to emphasize both the function of this structure and the identity of the company that runs it, making the telephone booth easily identifiable to potential customers.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18695323/

  • offset lithograph on white paper
  • Gift of Marion S. Rand
  • public
  • communication
  • graphic design
  • advertising
  • transportation
  • brightly colored
  • symbols
  • commercial poster
  • cars
  • icons
  • signage
  • signs
  • logos
  • primary colors

In 1966, Henry Ford II hired Paul Rand to modernize the Ford logo. This poster integrates the updated logo among fifteen traffic signs and the text, “Signs that Say Safe Driving,” visually linking Ford with familiar safety symbols. Though Ford ultimately did not use Rand’s graphic, Rand’s approach illustrates the importance of visibility in signage and branding.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/51686591/

  • Manufactured by Lindustries
  • Gift of Lindustries
  • functional
  • monochromatic
  • accessibility

The simple lever design of this plastic attachment makes the task of opening doors easier for those challenged by grasping and twisting circular door knobs. The bright red color enhances visibility, making the knob easier to locate.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18643605/

  • chrome-plated metal, plastic
  • Gift of Barbara and Max Pine
  • red plastic
  • emergency
  • monochromatic
  • color coded

The use of bright red-orange plastic, rather than metal, for elements like the bulb housing and the on/off switch make the flashlight easier to spot and operate during an emergency.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18699377/

  • graphite, brush and enamel paint, wax crayon, print, and fabric sample on white paper
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • design
  • art
  • drawing
  • New York City
  • squares
  • collage
  • map
  • fabric
  • park
  • installation
  • rendering
  • public space

This collage presents a plan and rendering for The Gates, an installation in which artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude lined Central Park’s paths with 7,500 gates draped with saffron orange panels, visible from all perspectives amongst the bare winter trees. A map at left shows Frederick Law Olmstead’s meandering walking paths outlined in bright orange.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18444283/

  • brown felt tip pen, chalk, graphite on yellow tracing paper
  • perspective
  • preparatory
  • minimalism
  • triangles
  • geometric
  • architectural drawing
  • residential

Chermayeff is an architect who believes that the design, and particularly the color of a house should, untraditionally, contrast with nature rather than appear to resemble it. This cottage is one of a group he has built on Cape Cod, and boldly stands forth from its setting of scrub pines and oaks. Before turning to architecture he was a practicing painter. Perhaps this is why Chermayeff projects his buildings as colorful, three-dimensional geometric abstractions.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/907216049/

  • Designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
  • graphite, color pencil, pen and black ink on tracing paper
  • Gift of Michael Van Valkenburgh
  • vegetation
  • multicolored
  • color gradation
  • public space
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color
  • color system
  • landscape architecture

In this plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park, the colored circles and rectangles, identifiable by the key in the lower right corner of the drawing, represent different types of vegetation to be planted. The circles indicate trees—from willow to black cherry—while the horizontal bands signify grasses and other types of flora.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18622259/

  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • Gift of Unknown Donor
  • multicolored
  • information
  • map
  • wayfinding

In his 1974 New York subway map, Massimo Vignelli used an eight-color palette to communicate the complex system, assigning each line a specific color. Critics found the diagrammatic plan too abstract, but many aspects of the design, including the color-coding of the lines, were retained in future iterations.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18622237/

  • Designed by Michael Hertz Associates
  • offset lithograph on white wove paper
  • Gift of Unknown Donor
  • graphic design
  • transportation
  • multicolored
  • map

In the 1978 prototype, Michael Hertz Associates added New York streets and landmarks. Hertz kept Vignelli’s colors as circular bullets, but rendered all subway lines in red, which users found confusing. Later iterations, as well as today’s map, use a “trunk line” color coding system, with one color assigned to each avenue of operation.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18648519/

  • Designed by Lone Lindinger-Löwy
  • molded plastic, electronic components
  • Gift of Arango Design Foundation
  • multicolored
  • monochromatic
  • analogous color

The BeoCom Copenhagen telephone came in a variety of color combinations, all using color to divide the keys into groups so the user could quickly and easily find the needed buttons. By 1992, the colored keys were replaced by simple, black keys.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18640503/

  • Manufactured by OXO International
  • abs plastic, black
  • Gift of OXO
  • multicolored
  • color coded

Manufacturer OXO International sought to create more comfortable, functional kitchen tools by providing larger, improved grips that make the devices usable for a greater part of the population. Color coding each measuring spoon makes its capacity easier to identify, a design solution that proves as useful as the re-designed handles.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18648677/

  • molded plastic, electronic components
  • Gift of Arango Design Foundation
  • instruction
  • circles
  • curving form
  • multicolored
  • recording
  • offices
  • measuring
  • tool
  • triangles
  • symbols
  • mathematical
  • postmodern
  • buttons
  • keyboard
  • calculation
  • yellow plastic

Zelco produced this calculator in two different models: one for right-handed users and the other for left-handed users. As the calculator’s title suggests, the device was designed to maximize efficiency and comfort for the user. The brightly colored keys, coded by function, allow for ease and accuracy when entering calculations.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749869/

  • Designed by Charles Whittingham
  • education
  • navigation
  • geometry
  • primary colors

Disregarded as an oddity after its publication in 1847, Byrne’s Euclid has since been praised by both designers and mathematicians as one of the most beautiful books on mathematics ever produced. Byrne used primary colors to distinguish different planes; the result calls to mind de Stijl design and the paintings of Piet Mondrian.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460793/

  • digital print on non-woven paper
  • Gift of Thomas Eyck
  • stripes
  • pattern
  • domestic interiors
  • sidewall
  • multicolored
  • All-over
  • lines
  • complementary colors
  • analogous color

The palette of this striped wallpaper, derived from the diagram for the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Irma Boom’s Colour, Based on Nature, reflects the heat and intensity of the lava flow, the warm mist and steam in the air, and the light reflecting off the steam in the night sky.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749873/

  • Designed by Francis Amasa Walker
  • Smithsonian Libraries, HA201 1870 .A1s
  • navigation
  • information graphics
  • color coded

This detailed analysis of the 1870 national census, with data presented in the form of infographics, was the first of its kind when it was produced in 1874. Color was essential to the communication and visualization of the census’s extensive data.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749901/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, N7433.4.B64 C65 2012
  • stripes
  • nature
  • natural color
  • navigation
  • color harmony

Working with photographs of UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the globe, from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the Jungfrau in Switzerland, Dutch graphic designer Irma Boom extracted the color information from each landscape and transformed it into an abstract color diagram, evoking and celebrating the essence of a place.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18617993/

  • screenprint on paper
  • Gift of Various Donors
  • graphic design
  • political poster
  • Midwest
  • map

Stephen Frykholm uses blue, yellow, and orange to distinguish the state of Michigan, in red, from the bodies of land and water surrounding it: The Great Lakes, Canada, and Wisconsin. He highlights the state’s physical location and communicates the importance of the state’s 1978 primary for the United States Senate race, with a dynamic design that, at first glance, appears abstract.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1158865977/

  • Courtesy of PeclersParis
  • tools
  • painting
  • color forecasting

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1158865981/

  • Courtesy of PeclersParis
  • tools
  • painting
  • color harmony
  • color forecasting

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1158865975/

  • mixed media
  • fashion
  • color harmony
  • color forecasting
  • color sample

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18346335/

  • machine printed on paper
  • Gift of Paul F. Franco
  • interior
  • domestic
  • home
  • hills
  • landscape
  • trees
  • color gradation
  • Mission style
  • gradient

A wallpaper frieze created a transition between the saturated colors fashionable on wallpapers of the period to the pale tones preferred on ceilings. The frieze would suggest the room’s color scheme: a deep red or green tone-on-tone paper below, and a warm tan with a slight sparkle pattern on the ceiling.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/102200233/

  • Manufactured by Jeffrey & Company
  • block printed on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Regents Collections Acquisition Fund

Design reformer William Morris reacted against the garish synthetic colors which were introduced in the 1850s. He promoted a return to natural dyes, resulting in the subdued color combinations which were his firm’s signature.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18492533/

  • Manufactured by Morris & Co.
  • block printed on paper
  • Gift of Clifford Murvine, Reed Wallpaper Company

William Morris would have been shocked to see this version of his 1887 design, Sunflower, re-issued in new colorways in 1972. Instead of the mellowed, natural colors he promoted, the influence of psychedelia is seen in this close chromatic combination.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749889/

  • Purchase from the Margery Masinter Endowment, Smithsonian Libraries, QC495 .G85 1882
  • pochoir
  • color harmony
  • color forecasting

Architect and decorator Édouard Guichard promoted the concept of color harmony for the design of wallpaper, draperies, upholstery, and paint schemes in interior design. His Harmony of Colors contains 166 spectacular full-color plates with 1,300 harmonious color palettes intended to inspire his fellow designers.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18708229/

  • brush and watercolor, gouache, gold paint on white wove paper
  • watercolor
  • interiors
  • complementary colors
  • color harmony

Rich colors and eclectic ornamentation characterize the many decorative flourishes in the Grand Duchess’s salon. The numerous juxtapositions of colors and patterns reflect Victorian-era aesthetics.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18354609/

  • silk
  • Anonymous bequest in memory of Albert and Rebecca Elsberg
  • sample
  • optical mixing
  • color blanket

The ability to alter the character of a pattern by changing just one of its component colors is called the “Bezold effect” after the theories of Wilhelm von Bezold. In this sample blanket, textile designer Herman Elsberg is experimenting with six different background colors and three color variations in the secondary leaf pattern: pale green, silver, and off-white.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749921/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, TP937 .S44 1886
  • lithograph
  • trade catalogue
  • paint
  • paint samples

In the late 1800s, with the advent of pre-mixed paints, the range of available paint colors expanded exponentially, making possible the multi-colored paint schemes of the Victorian age. Victorian homeowners typically applied harmonies of three to five colors, a style of house that later became known as a “painted lady.”

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18340903/

  • paper, cardboard, silk
  • sample
  • sample book

This sample card shows the silk dyes available for Autumn 1927. Each color is numbered, but also named, with references to everything from sailor’s slang to French colonies to chocolate-filled cakes. Evocative color names remain an important sales tool today.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18480039/

  • brush and gouache, watercolor, silver and gold paint, graphite on white wove paper
  • study
  • preparatory
  • advertising
  • pattern
  • symmetry
  • art deco
  • triangles
  • 3D
  • form
  • angular
  • product promotion
  • triangular
  • packaging
  • branding
  • monochromatic

Dreyfuss’s packaging designs for the Hickok Company, purveyors of high quality men’s accessories, feature three different color variations of a dynamic triangular motif. Hickok goods, including belts and wallets, were sold in smartly decorated packaging that functioned as both an ideal gift box and attractive storage.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18654261/

  • pen and red, black ink, color pencil, red marking pen, collage on tracing paper mounted on board
  • Gift of Paula Scher
  • multicolored
  • music
  • squares
  • geometric
  • primary colors
  • graphic identity

Scher’s inspiration for this record label came from Piet Mondrian’s celebrated 1942–43 painting Broadway Boogie Woogie, a square canvas covered in an irregular grid of primary colors—a response to the street grid of Manhattan and the syncopated beats of jazz music. In this working drawing, the designer calls out the PMS (Pantone Matching System) numbers for each color.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18677455/

  • colored paper, ballpoint pen, color pencil, graphite on blueprint
  • Gift of Alexander H. Girard
  • pattern
  • multicolored
  • furnishing fabric
  • textile design
  • spectrum
  • brocade
  • color system

With a sharp eye for color combinations, architect and designer Alexander Girard presents neutral and brilliant colorways for his textile designs on these color cards, indicating how the colors are to be used in the pattern. Girard painted his own papers before collaging them, controlling all aspects of a color’s representation.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18677457/

  • colored paper, ballpoint pen, color pencil, graphite on blueprint
  • Gift of Alexander H. Girard
  • pattern
  • multicolored
  • furnishing fabric
  • textile design
  • spectrum
  • collage
  • brocade
  • colorways
  • color system

With a sharp eye for color combinations, architect and designer Alexander Girard presents neutral and brilliant colorways for his textile designs on these color cards, indicating how the colors are to be used in the pattern. Girard painted his own papers before collaging them, controlling all aspects of a color’s representation.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18677747/

  • rayon, cotton
  • Gift of Alexander H. Girard
  • analogous color

Girard’s exuberant use of color drew on his large collection of folk art. Of the type of color scheme represented here, he later quipped, “In those days a brilliant pink or magenta carried a connotation of a double-barreled horror.”

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18677763/

  • 46% spun rayon, 24% metallic plastic, 26% cotton, 4% rayon
  • Gift of Alexander H. Girard
  • analogous color

Girard’s exuberant use of color drew on his large collection of folk art. Of the type of color scheme represented here, he later quipped, “In those days a brilliant pink or magenta carried a connotation of a double-barreled horror.”

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749955/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, QC495.2 .O88 1939
  • color theory
  • color harmony
  • color standards

Farbmesstafel is Ostwald’s color theory translated into the form of a functional color tool. It allowed for easy identification of colors when the cutout windows were held in front of an object. Published in five languages, this was one of the first universal standards used for color matching in printing.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18698057/

  • Manufactured by Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory
  • moulded and glazed porcelain, with enamelled color
  • Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund
  • multicolored
  • radial
  • sample
  • choice
  • color choice
  • teardrop
  • analogous color

This plate is marked “Stelling’s Porcelaensfarver,” or Stelling’s Porcelain Colors, in the center, surrounded by samples of glazes in various colors brushed on in small teardrop shapes. Each color has its corresponding code number and could have served as a guide for prospective clients to select colors.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18702033/

  • glazed porcelain
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment
  • color gradation
  • sample
  • analogous color

This sample plate shows variations on a limited palette of muted colors, and gives an idea of popular hues for tableware of the period. It also adds to our understanding of the manufacturers’ range of viable glazes for porcelain and how well they fire in the kiln.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18698051/

  • Manufactured by Joseph P. Emery
  • glazed porcelain
  • Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund
  • symmetry
  • multicolored
  • designers
  • ornamental
  • tool
  • stylized
  • color choice
  • analogous color

This plate displays glazes in various colors produced by the Joseph P. Emery Company, a 19th-century manufacturer of colors for the English ceramics industry. The wedge-shaped color fields and decorative scene repeated around the rim, with corresponding code numbers, were a sampling tool enabling Emery to better market its colors.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18698059/

  • glazed earthenware
  • Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund
  • multicolored
  • manufacturers
  • radial
  • color gradation
  • sample
  • choice
  • spectrum
  • analogous color

This spectacular sample plate includes a tint and shade of each color, while a thick band of sheer tan glaze gives a desaturated version of each color. The overall composition gives the illusion of translucent, overlapping color fields.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18702037/

  • Manufactured by Oneida Ltd.
  • molded and glazed earthenware
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment
  • multicolored
  • analogous color

This ceramic plate shows the range of colors available in Oneida’s Buffalo line. During World War II, Oneida supplied dishware to the U.S. government, and thereafter produced wares primarily for commercial use in restaurants, trains, and ships, although many were custom orders.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18702035/

  • glazed porcelain
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment
  • color gradation
  • analogous color

Sample plates give us an idea of the colors and techniques that were fashionable during different historical periods. This French porcelain plate shows shades of gray-green as well as magenta, both of which were popular in the 1880s in France.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749985/

  • Gift of Walter C. Granville, Smithsonian Libraries, QC495 .J33 1946X
  • color theory
  • color harmony
  • color wheel
  • container corporation

The Container Corporation of America’s head of design Egbert Jacobson worked with corporate colorist pioneer Walter Granville to adapt Ostwald’s system into a tool usable by designers and artists. Removable chips, matte on one side and glossy on the other, set this color manual apart.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18434577/

  • label: board covers, printed cardboard pages, silk samples
  • grid
  • sales
  • color gradation
  • standardization
  • sample book
  • silk
  • swatches
  • promotional

When World War I deprived American textile producers of quality dyestuffs from Europe, representatives of textile and related industries decided to choose colors themselves. The group created a color card that could be used by related businesses to ensure color consistency across all trades.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18621883/

  • molded fiberglass-reinforced polyester, bent metal rods, wood, rubber
  • Gift of Barry Friedman and Patricia Pastor
  • interior
  • decoration
  • home
  • seating
  • curved
  • line
  • elegant
  • movement
  • recycling

Because the use of fiberglass for furnishings was so novel, the Eames’s Rocking Arm Chair was originally released only in three colors—gray, parchment, and “greige” (gray-beige)—designed to coordinate with many interiors. But the chair was eventually available to consumers in a much larger palette of colors.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1158866089/

  • Courtesy of JongeriusLab and Vitra AG
  • color gradation
  • fabric
  • color harmony
  • color wheel
  • Eames

When Dutch designer Hella Jongerius joined Vitra as Art Director for Colors and Materials in 2007, she studied the archives to develop a cohesive palette for the brand, but she also created a color and materials wheel specific to each designer. The Eames wheel includes clear primaries as well as a nuanced selection of blacks and grays.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/404734435/

  • steel,stainless steel, molded plastic, woven wool upholstery
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II
  • furniture
  • red
  • seating
  • chair
  • heart-shaped
  • heart

"In kindergarten one learns to love and use colors. Later on, at school and in life, one learns something called taste. For most people this means limiting their use of colors.” (Verner Panton, Notes on Color, 1997) The exaggerated shape of the Heart Cone chair’s back glances coyly toward traditional enveloping wing chairs, but its bright-red upholstery and playful form reveal a pop sensibility.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1158866093/

  • Courtesy of JongeriusLab and Vitra AG
  • textile
  • color gradation
  • fabric
  • color harmony
  • color wheel

As Art Director for Colors and Materials, Dutch designer Hella Jongerius created a specific color wheel for each of Vitra’s designers. “All the designers come to us having made their own color choices,” she said. “It’s very important that each one has signature colors that no one else can use. . .” Panton’s wheel illustrates his commitment to pure, saturated color as a fundamental component of design.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460835/

  • offset lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Fanette Mellier
  • pattern
  • colors
  • geometric
  • ombre
  • posters
  • color gradation
  • exhibition poster
  • microchip
  • offset lithograph
  • gradient

Though this tapestry of geometric forms may appear to be a vibrant abstraction, Fanette Mellier composed the poster entirely of printers’ control marks, cleverly making her printed work a reflection of the printing process. Registration marks in cyan, magenta, and yellow confirm whether a job is being printed correctly—when layered, the three colors should appear entirely black. Mellier also includes variously sized color bars, tools used to measure color density and consistency while printing.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18468669/

  • Designed by Norvell Gillespie
  • cotton
  • soldiers
  • military
  • camouflage

Abbott Thayer’s theory of “disruptive patterning” was the basis for the Frog Skin or 5-color jungle camouflage that was developed by the U.S. military during World War II, and was most widely used by the Marines in the Pacific theater. Its designer was a horticulturist, and the garden editor for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18621771/

  • anodized aluminum
  • Museum purchase from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund
  • kitchen
  • dining
  • multicolored
  • brightly colored
  • geometric
  • eating
  • portable
  • playful

Tisdale gained acclaim for this flatware with its geometric outlines and rainbow colors, winning the Pantone Color Award in 1988. Color, in the form of metal salts, is deposited in the pores of the anodized metal by passing an electric current through the dye bath.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18621777/

  • anodized aluminum
  • Museum purchase from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund

Tisdale gained acclaim for this flatware with its geometric outlines and rainbow colors, winning the Pantone Color Award in 1988. Color, in the form of metal salts, is deposited in the pores of the anodized metal by passing an electric current through the dye bath.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18621779/

  • anodized aluminum
  • Museum purchase from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund

Tisdale gained acclaim for this flatware with its geometric outlines and rainbow colors, winning the Pantone Color Award in 1988. Color, in the form of metal salts, is deposited in the pores of the anodized metal by passing an electric current through the dye bath.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18629929/

  • brush and gouache on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds
  • flowers
  • textile design
  • colorways
  • arabesque
  • complementary colors

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18629951/

  • brush and gouache on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds
  • flowers
  • colorways
  • textile designs
  • arabesque
  • complementary colors
  • achromatic color

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18629965/

  • brush and gouache on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds
  • flowers
  • textile design
  • colorways
  • arabesque
  • complementary colors
  • achromatic color

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18629967/

  • brush and gouache on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds
  • flowers
  • textile design
  • colorways
  • arabesque
  • complementary colors

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18629969/

  • brush and gouache on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds
  • flowers
  • textile design
  • colorways
  • arabesque
  • complementary colors

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18629971/

  • brush and gouache on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds
  • flowers
  • textile design
  • colorways
  • arabesque
  • analogous color

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18629973/

  • brush and gouache on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds
  • flowers
  • textile design
  • colorways
  • arabesque
  • analogous color

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18629975/

  • brush and gouache on paper
  • Museum purchase from Smithsonian Collections Acquisition and Decorative Arts Association Acquisition Funds
  • flowers
  • textile design
  • colorways
  • arabesque
  • analogous color

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18679287/

  • screenprint on heavy off-white wove paper.
  • Gift of Tamar Cohen
  • optical effect
  • moiré

This portfolio by Albert Gregory explores the effects of color and pattern interactions. Like Josef Albers, Gregory renders the same design—in this case, concentric circles made of radiating lines—in different colorways, demonstrating how color interactions change the perception of the same form. In the second group of plates, the two images are printed slightly off-register to create the rippled pattern effect known as moiré.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18679291/

  • screenprint on heavy off-white wove paper.
  • Gift of Tamar Cohen
  • optical effect
  • moiré

This portfolio by Albert Gregory explores the effects of color and pattern interactions. Like Josef Albers, Gregory renders the same design—in this case, concentric circles made of radiating lines—in different colorways, demonstrating how color interactions change the perception of the same form. In the second group of plates, the two images are printed slightly off-register to create the rippled pattern effect known as moiré.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18679293/

  • screenprint on heavy off-white wove paper.
  • Gift of Tamar Cohen
  • optical effect
  • moiré

This portfolio by Albert Gregory explores the effects of color and pattern interactions. Like Josef Albers, Gregory renders the same design—in this case, concentric circles made of radiating lines—in different colorways, demonstrating how color interactions change the perception of the same form. In the second group of plates, the two images are printed slightly off-register to create the rippled pattern effect known as moiré.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18684697/

  • screenprint on heavy off-white wove paper
  • Gift of Tamar Cohen
  • optical effect
  • moiré

This portfolio by Albert Gregory explores the effects of color and pattern interactions. Like Josef Albers, Gregory renders the same design—in this case, concentric circles made of radiating lines—in different colorways, demonstrating how color interactions change the perception of the same form. In the second group of plates, the two images are printed slightly off-register to create the rippled pattern effect known as moiré.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18723295/

  • lithograph on paper
  • Gift of Unknown Donor
  • graphic design
  • fruit
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • calendars
  • gradient
  • optical mixing

The exploded dot pattern of this calendar exposes the techniques of halftone printing, in which microscopic dots of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black vary in size and spacing to create subtle shifts in color and tone. Here enlarged, the dots allow the eye to see both the abstract pattern and the image of a fruit.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18730099/

  • Manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc.
  • sheet aluminum, glass, polycarbonate
  • Gift of Apple
  • personal
  • entertainment
  • music
  • digital
  • minimalism
  • portable
  • innovative
  • extrude
  • orange plastic
  • monochromatic

Apple introduced the iPod, an all-white, personal music-player, in 2001, showcasing their now-iconic minimalist aesthetic. By 2009, the firm’s smaller iPod Nano was available in vibrant metallic colors. This shift reflects a change in the market for personal technology devices—a change that allowed for a greater range of choice and personalization.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18757371/

  • Manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc.
  • sheet aluminum, glass, polycarbonate
  • Gift of Apple
  • music
  • industrial design
  • technology
  • rectangular
  • colorful
  • apple

Apple introduced the iPod, an all-white, personal music-player, in 2001, showcasing their now-iconic minimalist aesthetic. By 2009, the firm’s smaller iPod Nano was available in vibrant metallic colors. This shift reflects a change in the market for personal technology devices—a change that allowed for a greater range of choice and personalization.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18757373/

  • Manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc.
  • molded abs plastic and polycarbonate resin, polished stainless steel, aluminum
  • Gift of Apple

Apple introduced the iPod, an all-white, personal music-player, in 2001, showcasing their now-iconic minimalist aesthetic. By 2009, the firm’s smaller iPod Nano was available in vibrant metallic colors. This shift reflects a change in the market for personal technology devices—a change that allowed for a greater range of choice and personalization.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18757375/

  • Manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc.
  • polished anodized aluminum, glass, polycarbonate
  • Gift of Apple

Apple introduced the iPod, an all-white, personal music-player, in 2001, showcasing their now-iconic minimalist aesthetic. By 2009, the firm’s smaller iPod Nano was available in vibrant metallic colors. This shift reflects a change in the market for personal technology devices—a change that allowed for a greater range of choice and personalization.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18757377/

  • Manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc.
  • polished anodized aluminum, glass, polycarbonate
  • Gift of Apple

Apple introduced the iPod, an all-white, personal music-player, in 2001, showcasing their now-iconic minimalist aesthetic. By 2009, the firm’s smaller iPod Nano was available in vibrant metallic colors. This shift reflects a change in the market for personal technology devices—a change that allowed for a greater range of choice and personalization.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18757379/

  • Manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc.
  • polished anodized aluminum, glass, polycarbonate
  • Gift of Apple
  • personal
  • entertainment
  • music
  • digital
  • minimalism
  • portable
  • innovative

This deep red Nano reflects changes in consumer tastes and expectations as much as developments in technology. No longer just a music player, the device has a microphone, FM radio tuner, video camera, and pedometer. The Nano can also store and play visual media on its 2.2-inch color screen.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68731069/

  • molded, enameled and glazed hard-paste porcelain
  • Gift of Michele Oka Doner in honor of Lisa Roberts
  • ombre
  • color gradation
  • analogous color

This plate documents color palettes popular in Germany just after World War II, and shows a gradation of each color from light to dark.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/68814021/

  • molded and emulsion-painted pyrex glass, cast and nickel-plated steel, molded phenolic plastic resin and rubber, fabric (cord)
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II
  • women
  • industrial design
  • color gradation
  • colorful
  • iron

In response to metal shortages during World War II, Saunders Machine & Tool Corporation partnered with Corning Glassworks to develop this Silver Streak iron with a durable and heat-resistant shell and handle of Pyrex. Consumers could choose from a body in red, green, or blue jewel tones that glowed through the colorless glass.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/69187499/

  • mold-blown, ground and polished glass
  • multicolored
  • translucent
  • personalization

Ruutu (Finnish for diamond or square) is the name of this collection of modular vases produced in five sizes and seven colors. The Bouroullec brothers’ minimal, rectilinear vessels work together as a family of colored transparent glass forms that the user arranges to create a varied color landscape.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749917/

  • Smithsonian Libraries, RE921 .I75 1936X
  • camouflage
  • complementary colors
  • color blind
  • color contrast

Red/green blindness is the most common color vision deficiency. On the top left, people with normal color vision see an 8, while those with red/green deficiency see a 3. People with red/green deficiency see a 45 on the top right, while those with full color vision see no figure. The lower left distinguishes between red and green blindness, with red-blind people seeing 6, green-blind 2, and normally sighted 26. On the lower right, the subject traces a meandering line rather than identifying a number. Again, the line is only visible to those with full color vision.

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108749989/

  • Gift of Issac H. Godlove, Smithsonian Libraries, QC495 .E96 folio
  • book
  • environment
  • color
  • Japan

Founded in 1927, the Japan Color Research Institute was tasked with the “color planning” for Japan’s first World’s Fair, EXPO ‘70. While color coordinating 107 pavilions, 75 of which were foreign, proved impossible, they measured and documented the colors used in each "to serve as research data for the future color environment plans.”

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1158866081/

  • Designed by Aliki van der Kruijs (Dutch, b. 1984)
  • silk
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund
  • water
  • rain
  • sample
  • colorways

In preparation for creating textile patterns using rainfall, Aliki van der Kruijs created this sample blanket that explores how digital printing inks respond to water before they are fixed with heat. A range of shades and tints are created as dye is lifted and deposited along the tide lines.