Modern Color/Modern Architecture: Amédée Ozenfant and the Genealogy of Color in Modern Architecture, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Modern Color/Modern Architecture

Amédée Ozenfant and the Genealogy of Color in Modern Architecture, 1st Edition

By William W. Braham


12 pages

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pub: 2019-07-22
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This title was first published in 2002. This really is a text that will fill a long-felt want. A key figure in that history is Amédée Ozenfant, painter, critic and friend of Le Corbusier, who in the first half of this century founded a school in London where he conducted experiments and wrote about color in architecture. Those experiments have been reconstructed for the book, which also includes reprints of his most important articles on the subject. This book provides a fascinating survey of this most contemporary topic that will inspire and inform designers and architects. Color has often been regarded as the final dressing of a building, subject to the vagaries of fashion and left to the client to select. There have been a number of studies of polychromy in the architecture of the more distant past, particularly in relation to modern conservation practices, but there is little or nothing on the architectural color of recent times, and especially within Modernism.


'As well as stimulating a renewed interest in a neglected figure, Braham performs a useful service in reprinting the very important series of articles by Ozenfant in The Architectural Review. His study looks effectively at Ozenfant's ideas in the context of postmodern debates about colour in architecture. It is, for as far as I am aware, the first scholarly treatment of his architectural work; it will thus be of interest to architects as well as architectural historians and more general students of British visual culture in the 1930's….I recommend Braham's book warmly.'

- John Gage, University of Cambridge

'Ozenfant's painting, particularly his post-war work, was not strong enough to guarantee him a place in the Pantheon. Some of the paintings from the thirties I do find impressive and original. They deserve to be much better known than they are. But Ozenfant's contribution to theory has been decisive. He ran the review 'Elan' even before meeting Corbu; together they made 'L'Esprit Nouveau' one of the most important periodicals of the century. His own strongest contribution to modern theory was his approach to colour….This really is a text that will fill a long-felt want. I am sure it will be required reading for anyone interested in the art of the twentieth century, and it will be used in all schools of architecture as well. I recommend it with enthusiasm.'

- Joseph Rykwert

'… Braham has done thorough, careful work in a neglected area central to modern architecture…'

- Studies in the Decorative Arts

Table of Contents

1. Ozenfant and the Genealogy of Architectural Color. 2. Education of the Eye: Ozenfant, Signac and Purple Shadows. 3. Purism and the 'Divorce of Painting and Architecture'. 4. 'Colour Solidarity': The Appearance of Architecture. 5. Modern Methods (after the divorce). 6. Natural, Ornamental, Symbolic and Therapeutic.

About the Author

William W. Braham

About the Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / History / General