See more objects with the tag color theory, color wheel, saturation, hue, chromatic.

Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.


  • Work on this object began.



  • You found it!

Book, Die Farbenfibel (The Color Primer)

This is a Book. It was written by Wilhelm Ostwald and published by Verlag Unesma GmBH.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from Smithsonian Libraries as part of Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color.

It is dated 1928. Its medium is letterpress with collage on paper.

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.

It is credited Gift of Walter C. Granville, Smithsonian Libraries, ND1493 .O85 1928.

Our curators have highlighted 9 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Sample Plate (France)
  • glazed earthenware.
  • Museum purchase from Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund.
  • 2003-5-5

Its dimensions are

H x W (open): 22.5 × 33.5 cm (8 7/8 × 13 3/16 in.)

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Book, Die Farbenfibel (The Color Primer) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=6 December 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>