Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/285

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273
LITERARY NOTICES.

be supposed by the casual observer. It is not artistic or scientific rules that hedge up the path, but his own taste and feeling for color, and the desire to obtain the best result possible under the given conditions. In point of fact, color can only be used successfully by those who love it for its own sake apart from form, and who have a distinctly developed color-talent or -faculty; training, or the observance of rules, will not supply or conceal the absence of this capacity in any individual case, however much they may do for the gradual color-education of the race.

From the foregoing it is evident that the positions occupied by color in decoration and in painting are essentially different, color being used in the latter primarily as the means of accomplishing an end, while in decoration it constitutes to a much greater degree the end itself. The links which connect decoration with painting are very numerous, and the mode of employing color varies considerably according as we deal with pure decoration, or with one of the stages where it begins to merge into painting.

The simplest form of color-decoration is found in those cases where surfaces are enlivened with a uniform layer of color for the purpose of rendering their appearance more attractive: thus woven stuffs are dyed with uniform hues, more or less bright.; buildings are painted with various sober tints; articles of furniture and their coverings are treated in a similar manner.

The use of several colors upon the same surface gives rise to a more complicated species of ornamentation. In its very simplest form we have merely bands of color, or geometrical patterns made of squares, triangles, or hexagons. Here the artist has the maximum amount of freedom in the choice of color, the surfaces over which it is spread being of the same form and size, and hence of the same degree of importance. In such cases the chromatic composition depends entirely on the taste and fancy of the decorator, who is much less restricted in his selection than with surfaces which from the start are unequal in size, and hence vary in importance. After these simplest of all patterns follow those that are more complicated, such as arabesques, fanciful arrangements of straight and curved lines, or mere suggestions taken from leaves, flowers, feathers, and other objects. Even in these, the choice of the colors is not necessarily influenced by the actual colors of the objects represented, but is regulated by artistic motives, so that the true colors of objects are often replaced even by silver or gold. Advancing a step, we have natural objects, leaves, flowers, figures of men or animals, used as ornaments, but treated in a conventional manner, some attention, however, being paid to their natural or local colors, as well as to their actual forms. In such compositions the use of gold or silver as backgrounds or as tracery, also the constant employment of contours more or less decided, the absence of shadows, and the frank disregard of local color where it does not suit the artist, all emphasize the fact that nothing beyond decoration is intended. Up to this point the artist is still guided in his choice of hues by the wish of making a chromatic composition that shall be beautiful in its soft, subdued tints, or brilliant and gorgeous with its rich display of colors; hence intense and saturated hues are often arranged in such a way as to appear by contrast still more brilliant; gold and silver, black and white, add to the effect; but no attempt is made to imitate nature in a realistic sense. When, however, we go some steps further, and undertake to reproduce natural objects in a serious spirit, the whole matter is entirely changed; when we see groups of flowers accurately drawn in their natural colors, correct representations of animals or of the human form, complete landscapes or views of cities, we can be certain that we have left the region of true ornamentation and entered another which is quite different. A great part of our modern European decoration is really painting—misapplied.

"American Chemical Journal." Edited, with the Aid of Chemists at Home and Abroad, by Ira Remsen, Professor of Chemistry in the Johns Hopkins University. Vol. I., No. 1. Fifty cents per number. Baltimore: Innes & Co.

As we gather from the announcement, the first object of this new Journal will be to collect the good original papers written by American chemists. It will aim to be a medium of communication between the chemists of this country by recording their researches. But at the same time it will reprint articles and abstracts of articles from other chemical periodicals, and will also print reports of progress in recent investigations and reviews of chemical publications. The first number opens with an article contributed by Dr. Wolcott Gibbs, on the complex inorganic acids, and closes with a report on applied chemistry, by Professor J. W. Mallet. The numbers of the Journal will contain from sixty-four to eighty pages. Six will form a volume of from four to five hundred pages, which will probably appear within a year. Subscription, three dollars per volume in advance. All success to the new enterprise!

Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. I., Nos. 1-3. Committee on Papers and Publications: H. Endemann, Ph. D., Editor; Arno Behr, Ph. D.; Gideon H. Moore, Ph. D. New York: Lehmaier & Brother, 162 William Street.

"The American Chemical Society," though young, is vigorous, and is going on from strength to strength. It has already