What is this color 1

Itten color wheel

Johannes Itten, painter and art teacher, developed the basics of his color theory and the corresponding color wheel during his teaching activities at the Bauhaus Weimar from 1919 to 1923. Another focus of Itten's work is the study of color contrasts.

Itten's color theory

These twelve colors are arranged on Itten's color wheel as follows:

  • Yellow is at the top of the color wheel, the other primary colors red and blue each offset by 120 °
  • exactly in between, i.e. at 60 °, 180 ° and 300 °, are the corresponding secondary colors
  • the tertiary colors lie between the respective primary and secondary colors
  • the sequence is thus analogous to the spectrum and closes with red to purple

In Itten's color wheel, complementary colors are diametrically opposed. According to Itten, two complementary colors mixed together result in gray.

Notes on the terms

Itten understands by:

  • Secondary colors: arise from the mixture of the three basic colors
  • Tertiary colors: are created by mixing a secondary color with a basic color

In more modern subtractive color models and color ordering systems, one understands by:

Küpper's criticism of Itten's color theory

According to Küppers, the three primary colors Itten called yellow, red and blue, which form a triangle in the color wheel, are not primary colors at all. Itten's red, blue and yellow are secondary colors. The Itten blue is a mixture of the primary colors cyan and violet blue, the Itten red is a mixture of the primary colors orange-red and the Itten yellow comes close to the primary color yellow, but is a mixture of the primary color yellow, which is somewhat of the primary color orange-red is mixed in.

Itten's complementary colors do not give gray when mixed, but colorful tertiary colors.

Furthermore, white and black are missing. They are not non-colors, but are equivalent to the bright colors.

For these reasons, Küppers accuses Itten of not having tried his mixtures himself.