1952 Ellsworth Kelly

In 1952 Ellsworth Kelly wanted to try something. According to his thoughts he produced Red Yellow Blue White. The work can be described as an early Hard-edge painting. It consists of five vertical panels separated on the wall and four occurring intervals of the wall surface between them. Each of the five panels is made up by a grouping of respectively five square-cut canvases; red, yellow, dark blue and white cotton fabrics he had purchased in the marketplace of a small fishing village in South of France, and which he stretched directly onto their supports. Following the strategy that he had explored in Paris with collages made from various found coated and uncoated colored papers, it is the only painting the artist ever did using actual industrially dyed fabrics of ready-made colors.
      In Random Order (October Books, 2003, p. 99) the art historian Branden Wayne Joseph takes up on Kelly's try and expects that he used the left over cloth from Red Yellow Blue White to make a dress for the artist Anne Weber. "Kelly's use of the same fabric for the dress of his friend Anne Weber only makes the equation between color and commodity in this particular work clear."
      All that remain of that dress are a collage by Ellsworth Kelly and a photograph of Anne Weber wearing it. In 2013 art adviser Sharon Coplan Hurowitz and women's creative director of Calvin Klein Francisco Costa worked with Kelly to recreate the dress as he had actually wanted it. It is composed of equally wide horizontal bands, made of modern fabrics in the fibers cotton, silk, nylon and elastane, rendered in a very limited-edition. As mentioned in Leslie Camhi's article In the Abstract: Ellsworth Kelly Creates a Limited-Edition Collection with Francisco Costa for Vogue, May 31, 2013, Kelly had anticipated within his works a way of “getting color off the wall and having it walk around the room.” The original intention remains present in the ten reinterpretations of the dress for Calvin Klein. One copy was donated to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and one to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, whose permanent collection includes the work Red Yellow Blue White, the try that inspired the design of the dress at first.


1979 Margaret Walch

"Nude Figure Blue / Joy Orange / Paper Pink / Cut-out Magenta / Gollage Green" are the color sample names in the section "The Colors of Matisse" in Margaret Walch's Color Source Book on page 89. They reassemble a selection of five primary colors in the hue and value that Matisse chose for his late paper collages. Among the palettes of other artists like Giotto, William Morris, or Sheila Hicks, the Color Source Book features significant color palettes of periods and art forms like Empire, Chinese porcelain, Scottish tartans, or Pop Art.

Through writing her own column on contemporary and historical fashion in the quarterly textile magazine American Fabrics (a guide for textile manufacturers with real physical fabric samples glued in it) Margaret Walch developed her expertise in the realm of color. In 1979 she published Color Source Book. It is the first of three color guides for both nonspecialist and professionals. In 1986 she became associated director of the Color Association of the US; an organization founded in 1915 to identify the direction of color trends, translate them into salable Color Forecasts in order to deliver the protocols to designers, retailers, and manufacturers. She points out, psychology, the economy, and our environment are the most important forces to influence our relation with color. High-visibility events, a celebrity, a movie, an artwork, anything that looks good has impact on our taste and values. Asked to pick her favorite color for 2008, she brings up Bamboo; a muted yellowed green, chosen from the associations' interior palette of the same year. She explains, in insecure times Bamboo “represents the stable green that is most on people’s minds.”