Chromaphilia: The Story of Color in Art by Stella Paul

Format: Hardback
Pages: 296 pp
Illustrations: 240 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714873510

"Color is stronger than language. It's a subliminal communication," writes artist Louise Bourgeois as quoted in the introduction to Chromaphilia.

This handsome and compelling book uses 240 artworks as case studies to tell the story of ten individual colors or color groups. It explores the history and meaning of each color in art, highlighting fascinating tales of discovery and artistic passion, and offering easily understood explanations of the science and theory behind specific colors. From Isaac Newton's optics to impressionist theory, from the dynamics of Josef Albers to the contemporary metaphysics of Olafur Eliasson, this book shows how color paints our world.

Artists, art lovers and designers alike will finish the book enriched by a new sense of where color fits into the world of visual statements. Paul's work is a smart continuation to earlier color-in-art books from John Gage or Josef Albers. This book will help the reader unlock the secrets of color, to learn how and why it has been used in art over the centuries.

Rich and readable, this engaging book is ripe with detail, insight and perspective and will take the reader along an artistic path that smartly wanders through some of the world's most beautiful art. Stella Paul blends history, art, science and philosophy to create a valuable study of color and its meaning through the centuries.

This book is an excellent addition to a docent's resource library that one will use over and over again. It's more than a lovely coffee table book.

About the author:


Stella Paul is an art historian living in New York City. She was educated at Harvard University and the University of Southern California. While on staff for more than twenty-four years at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paul brought audiences and art together, fostering engagement, knowledge, and interpretation for all visitors from scholars to students. She served as Museum Educator-in-Charge of Exhibitions and Communication, designing programs, lecturing, teaching, and writing.

Prior to her work at the Met, Paul ran the Southern California efforts for the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art. There she organized and conducted a distinguished program of collecting documentary material and building oral history resources.

Modern and post-War art is central to much of her writing. In addition to several publications you may also find some of her essays online in the Metropolitan Museum's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art.

Anne Stellmon, Docent Denver Art Museum and Immediate Past President, NDSC 

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