The Cultural History of Color

Secondary Sources

Batchelor, David (2000): Chromophobia. London: Reaktion.

Batchelor, David (ed.) (2008): Color. Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press.

Brusatin, Manlio (1999): La storia dei colori. Milan: Einaudi. (in Italian)

Gage, John (1993): Color and Culture. Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Gage, John (1999): Color as Meaning. Art, Science, and Symbolism. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Pierotti, Federico (2016): Un’archeologia del colore nel cinema italiano. Dal Technicolor ad Antonioni. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, on pp. 195–196. (in Italian) View Quote

Riley, Charles A. (1995): Color Codes. Modern Theories of Color in Philosophy, Painting and Architecture, Literature, Music, and Psychology. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.

Wolfschmidt, Gudrun (ed.) (2011): Farben in Kulturgeschichte und Naturwissenschaft. Hamburg: Tredition. (in German)

Cultural History of Color in Film

Belton, John (2001): Color. From Novelty to Norm. In: Gian Piero Brunetta (ed.): Storia Del Cinema, Vol. IV., Turin: Einaudi.

Cauda, Ernesto (1938): Il cinema a colori. Quaderno mensile. Roma: Bianco e nero, anno II, nr. 11, on pp. 5–7 View Quote and on pp. 101–102. (in Italian) View Quote

Hanssen, Eirik Frisfold (2006): Early Discourses on Colour and Cinema. Origins, Functions, Meanings. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International.

Hanssen, Eirik Frisvold (2009): Symptoms of Desire. Colour, Costume, and Commodities in Fashion Newsreels of the 1910s and 1920s. In: Film History, 21,2, 2009, pp. 107–21.

Jackson, Victoria; Lameris, Bregt (2014): Phantom Colours. Alice Blue and Phantom Red. Changing Meanings of Two Fashionable Colours (1905-1930). In: Catwalk. The Journal of Fashion. Beauty and Style, 3,2, 2014, pp. 19–46.

Kattenbelt, Chiel (1996): Color and the Absence of Color in Early Film Theories. In: Monica Dall’Asta, Guglielmo Pescatore and Leonardo Quaresima (eds.): Il colore nel cinema muto. Bologna: Clueb, pp. 116–132, on pp. 117–132. View Quote

Kindem, Gorham (1979): Hollywood’s Conversion to Color. The Technological, Economic and Aesthetic Factors. In: Journal of the University Film Association, 31,2, 1979,  pp. 29–36.

Koshofer, Gert (1988): Color. Die Farben Des Films. Berlin: Wissenschaftsverlag Volker Spiess. (in German)

Montesanti, Fausto (1954): Lineamenti di una storia del film a colori. In: Giuseppe Sala (ed.): Bianco e Nero. Il colore nel cinema. Rassegna mensile di studi cinematografici, XV,2-4, pp. 11–51, on pp. 11–12 View Quote and on pp. 45–48. (in Italian) View Quote

Pierotti, Federico (2012): La seduzione dello spettro. Storia e cultura del colore nel cinema. Genova: Le Mani-Microart, on p. 27 View Quote on p. 199. (in Italian) View Quote

Pierotti, Federico (2016): Un’archeologia del colore nel cinema italiano. Dal Technicolor ad Antonioni. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, on pp. 36–41 View Quote, on pp. 89–90 View Quote, on pp. 114–115 View Quote and on p. 170. (in Italian) View Quote

Yumibe, Joshua (2012): Moving Colors. Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism. New Brunswick et al.: Rutgers University Press.

Costume Design

Basten, Fred E. (1980): Glorious Technicolor. The Movies’ Magic Rainbow. South Brunswick: Barnes, on pp. 71–73. View Quote

Burger, Rosa (2002): Contemporary Costume Design. Dress Codes und weibliche Stereotype im Hollywood-Film. Wien: WUV. (in German)

Deutelbaum, Marshall (1987): Costuming and the Color System of Leave Her To Heaven. In: Film Criticism 11,3, pp. 11–20.

Landis, Deborah Nadoolman (2013): Hollywood Costume. New York: Harry N Abrams Inc.

Leese, Elizabeth (1991): Costume Design in the Movies. An Illustrated Guide to the Work of 157 Great Designers. Courier Corporation.

McLean, Adrienne (ed.) (2016): Costume, Makeup, and Hair. Reprint edition. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.

Color Symbolism

Biesinger, Albert; Braun, Gerhard (1995): Gott in Farben sehen. Die symbolische und religiöse Bedeutung der Farben. München: Kösel. (in German)

Goodman, Nelson (1968): Languages of Art. An Approach to a Theory of Symbols. 1978 ed. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.

Heller, Eva (2002): Wie Farben wirken. Farbpsychologie. Farbsymbolik. Kreative Farbgestaltung. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt. (in German)

Luckiesh, Matthew (1918): The Language of Color. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co..

Pastoureau, Michel (1992): Dictionnaire des couleurs de notre temps. Symbolique et société. 2007 ed. C. Bonneton. (in French)

Color in Art, Architecture and Interior Design

Bättig, Adrian (2008): Die Antike war Farbig. In: Applica, 23–24, 2008, pp. 50-52. (in German)

Bättig, Adrian (2009): Dunkles Zeitalter in hellem Licht. In: Applica, 2, 2009, pp. 25-27. (in German)

Bättig, Adrian (2009): Im Übergang von der Kontur zur Kolorierung. In: Applica, 3, 2009, pp. 22-25. (in German)

Bättig, Adrian (2009): Die Ehrliche Auffassung von Farbe. In: Applica, 7, 2009, pp. 2-4. (in German)

Bättig, Adrian (2009): Farbe um 1850. Bahnbrechende Erkenntnisse. In: Applica, 9, 2009, pp. 26-28. (in German)

Bättig, Adrian (2009): Im Jugendstil kamen die Farben nach der Natur. In: Applica, 11, 2009, pp. 26-29. (in German)

Bättig, Adrian (2010): Klassische Moderne. Farben betonen die Geometrie der Baukörper. In: Applica, 1, 2010, pp. 14–17. (in German)

Bättig, Adrian (2010): Von Knallbunt bis Erdigbraun. Die Sechziger- Und Siebzigerjahre. In: Applica, 3, 2010, pp. 22–28. (in German)

Bättig, Adrian (2010): Farbe als gestalterische Herausforderung der Gegenwart. In: Applica, 5, 2010, pp. 4–9. (in German)

Birren, Faber (1965): History of Color in Painting. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Eaton, Natasha (2013): Colour, Art and Empire. Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation. London: IBTauris.

Finlay, Victoria (2014): The Brilliant History of Color in Art. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.

Heer, Jan de (2013): The Architectonic Colour. Polychromy in the Purist Architecture of Le Corbusier, Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.

Horrocks, Chris (ed.) (2012): Cultures of Colour. Visual, Material, Textual. New York: Berghahn.

Zollinger, Heinrich (1999): Color in Art and Other Cultural Activities. In: Zollinger, Heinrich (1999): Color. A Multidisciplinary Approach. Zürich: Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta, pp. 161-231.

Color in Consumption and Design – Color Norms

Basten, Fred E. (1980): Glorious Technicolor. The Movies’ Magic Rainbow. South Brunswick: Barnes, on pp. 67–71. View Quote

Birren, Faber (1945): Selling with Color. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Birren, Faber (1961): Color Psychology and Color Therapy. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books.

Birren, Faber (1969): Principles of Color. A Review of Past Traditions and Modern Theories of Color Harmony. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Birren, Faber (1972): Light, Color and Environment. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Blaszczyk, Regina Lee (2012): The Color Revolution. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Eiseman, Leatrice (2000): Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color. Cincinnati, Ohio: North Light Books.

Eiseman, Leatrice; Recker, Keith (2011): Pantone. The 20th Century in Color. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Kalmus, Natalie M. (1935): Color Consciousness. In: Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 25,2, 1935, pp. 139–147. View Quote on Page: Technicolor No. IV: Three-strip

Pierotti, Federico (2016): Un’archeologia del colore nel cinema italiano. Dal Technicolor ad Antonioni. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, on pp. 171–176. (in Italian) View Quote

Troland, Leonard T. (1927): Some Psychological Aspects of Natural Color Motion Pictures. In: Transactions of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 11, 26.9.1927, pp. 680–698, on pp. 691–692. View Quote

Color Systems

Color System. Color Order Systems in Art and Science. Online

Albers, Josef (1970): Interaction of Color. Grundlegung einer Didaktik des Sehens. 1994 ed. Köln: DuMont Schauberg.

Burton, David (1984): Applying Color. In: Art Education, 37, 1984, pp. 40–43.

Chevreul, Michel Eugène (1839): De la loi du contraste simultané des couleurs, Paris: Pitois-Levrault. (in French)

Itten, Johannes (1970): Kunst der Farbe. Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverlag. (in German)

Kuehni, Rolf G.; Schwarz, Andreas (2008): Color Ordered. A Survey of Color Systems from Antiquity to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Munsell, Albert Henry (1915): Atlas of the Munsell Color System. Malden, Mass.: Wadsworth, Howland & Co..

Munsell, Albert Henry (1919): A Color Notation. New York, Munsell Color Co..

Ostwald, Wilhelm (1917): Die Farbenfibel. Leipzig: Verlag Unesma. (in German)

Ostwald, Wilhelm (1918): Die Harmonie der Farben. Text. Verlag Unesma. (in German)

Schmuck, Friedrich (1983): Farbsysteme und Farbordnungen. In: Kunstforum International, 57, 1983, pp. 163–179. (in German)

Spillmann, Werner (2009): Farb-Systeme 1611-2007. Farb-Dokumente in der Sammlung Werner Spillmann. Basel: Schwabe. (in German)

Color Nomenclature

Berlin, Brent; Kay, Paul (1969): Basic Color Terms. Their Universality and Evolution. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Eco, Umberto (1985): How Culture Conditions the Colours We See. In: Blonsky, Marshall (ed.) (1985): On Signs. A Semiotics Reader, pp. 157–75. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Hardin, C.L.; Maffi, Luisa (eds.) (1997): Color Categories in Thought and Language. Cambridge: University Press.

Zollinger, Heinrich (1999): How Do We Name Colors. In: Zollinger, Heinrich (1999): Color. A Multidisciplinary Approach. Zürich: Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta, pp.123-159.



(Bibliography compiled by Noemi Daugaard and Josephine Diecke, SNSF project Film Colors. Technologies, Cultures, Institutions directed by Prof. Dr. Barbara Flückiger, 2016)

See abstract on the University of Zurich’s research database (in German).