Color Codes: Modern Theories of Color in Philosophy, Painting and Architecture, Literature, Music, and Psychology / Edition 1

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"The first thing to realize about the study of color in our time is its uncanny ability to evade all attempts to systematically codify it," writes Charles A. Riley in this series of interconnected essays on the uses and meanings of color.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The subtitle clearly delineates the subject matter of this important book on the subjectivity of color sense and theories thereof, from the late 19th century to the present . . . [Riley] stresses the relatively independent development of color ideas among the theorists chosen, speaking of interrelations usually only where they have some historical or conceptual validity; and he does so in a clear, intelligible style." —Choice
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Riley's richly rewarding scholarly study explores the multiple meanings of color in painting, from the bold experiments of Robert and Sonia Delaunay and the Fauves, to Matisse's key influence on Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, David Hockney and Milton Avery to the spiritual use of color in Kandinsky, Gauguin, Van Gogh and the chromatic investigations of Georgia O'Keeffe, Robert Ryman and others. A thirst for an alternative, transcendental order motivated the philosophers Hegel, Oswald Spengler and Jacques Derrida in their theorizing on color, writes Riley, World Art correspondent and professor of English at Baruch College in New York. In architecture, he traces a renascence of color (Michael Graves, James Stirling); in music, he shows how chromaticism evokes the mind's complexity and spiritual yearnings (Wagner, Stockhausen, Schoenberg, Messiaen); in literature, he delves into structural analogies between color and language (Joyce, Proust, Pynchon, Wallace Stevens, A.S. Byatt). The theories of Freud, Jung and Gestalt psychologist Rudolf Arnheim help Riley elucidate the vital role of color in dreams, perception, emotion and memory. Illustrated. (Mar.)
Library Journal
At the outset of this scholarly work, Riley (English, Baruch Coll., CUNY) states: "The first thing to realize about the study of color in our time is its uncanny ability to evade all attempts to codify it systematically." In six intricate essays, the author discusses uses of color by the foremost contemporary artists, composers, philosophers, authors, architects, and psychologists. Excerpts from the writings of such proponents of modernism as Barthes, Derrida, Kandinsky, Stella, Schoenberg, Messiaen, Le Corbusier, Joyce, Pynchon, and Jung, combined with Riley's impressively wide-ranging knowledge, demonstrate the unique and varied perceptions in the field. Throughout, Riley urges his readers to explore the elusive mysteries and powers of color, though the book requires a degree of familiarity with the cited artists and thinkers. Recommended primarily for academic libraries.-Joan Levin, MLS, Chicago
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874517422
  • Publisher: University Press of New England
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 373
  • Sales rank: 1,214,535
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

CHARLES A. RILEY II is a frequent lecturer on the arts. He is author of several books, including Aristocracy and the Modern Imagination (2001) and Saints of Modern Art (1998), and of over a hundred gallery and museum catalogue essays for exhibitions on three continents. He has also written dozens of cover features for magazines including Art & Auction, Art & Antiques, and World Art. Founding editor-in-chief of WE, a national magazine for people with disabilities, he is Associate Professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY.

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Table of Contents

I Introduction: The Palette and the Table 1
II Color in Philosophy 20
III Color in Painting and Architecture 70
IV Color in Literature 220
V Color in Music 273
VI Color in Psychology 298
Notes 321
Glossary 329
Bibliography 339
Index 343
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