Secret Lives of Color

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The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso's blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history.

In this book, Kassia St. Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colors and where they come from (whether Van Gogh's chrome yellow sunflowers or punk's fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilization. Across fashion and politics, art and war, the secret lives of color tell the vivid story of our culture. Hardcover, 320 pages.


  • Item #978-0143131144

Flora & Gail's Pick

"It’s difficult to determine where on the bookcase to place this must- have-book. Ms. St. Clair explains so many ways color has, and still does, shape so much of our lives. She takes us from Lead White to Pitch Black in 75 stories and less than 300 pages. From prehistory to today, her fables and tales of how color influenced wars,language and entire cultures are invaluable looks into a part of life no one should miss. I highly recommend this book, her stories are delightful and educational at the same time. You may also want to read her companion book The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History ." "The book offers a flash portrayal of human civilization, zigzagging across fashion and politics, art and war, an unpredictable exploration of how significant color has shaped history. The Anatomy of Color by Patrick Baty and The Secret Life of Color is a must at any artist studio."

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