Complete set of Goethe's Farbenlehre
Zur Farbenlehre / Erklärung der zu Goethe's Farbenlehre gehörigen Tafeln / Anzeige und Uebersicht des Goethischen Werkes zur Farbenlehre / Sechzehn Tafeln zu Goethe's Farbenlehre und Siebenundzwanzig Tafeln zu Dessen Beiträge zur Optik nebst Erklärung.
Tübingen: Cotta, 1810.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Very Good. Item #002663
I: Zur Farbenlehre. Tübingen: Cotta, 1810. Two parts bound in two volumes. 8vo (198 x 121 mm). xlviii, 654; xxviii, 757  pp. Contemporary dark-green glossy paper boards, spines ruled and lettered in gilt (wear to extremities, corners scuffed and bumped), bound without endpapers. Very light age-toning and occasional minor spotting to final pages of second vol., otherwise crisp and clean. II: Erklärung der zu Goethe's Farbenlehre gehörigen Tafeln. Geistinger: Vienna, 1812.  4-24 pp, with 17 engraved plates (12 hand-coloured, including the extra plate IIa) bound at end. Text little browned and foxed, first 3 plates with brown spot at gutter. The three smaller plates IIa, VI and XII laid down on paper of the time. [Bound with] III: Anzeige und Uebersicht des Goethischen Werkes zur Farbenlehre. Geistinger: Vienna, 1812.  2-12 pp. Text little browned and foxed throughout. Two parts in one volume. 4to (220 x 180 mm). Recent half cloth, new endpapers. IV. Sechzehn Tafeln zu Goethe's Farbenlehre und Siebenundzwanzig Tafeln zu Dessen Beiträge zur Optik nebst Erklärung. Stuttgart and Tübingen: Cotta, 1842. 4to (232 x 190 mm). , 24;  pp. With 17 (12 hand-coloured) engraved plates und 27 (13 hand-coloured) lithographs on 9 plates. Contemporary dark-green glossy paper boards matching to text volumes, spines ruled and lettered in gilt (wear to extremities, corners scuffed and bumped). Text little browned, stronger foxing to first and final pages. Altogether a very good set. ----
Goedeke IV/3, pp. 14 (IV), 583, 45 (I), 46 (II), 46 alpha (III); Hagen 347 (I), 348b (II), 348c (III), 24b (IV); Kippenberg 386 (I), 389 (II), 388 (III); Roller-Goodman I, 468; Honeyman 1524; DSB V, p.445. Goethe's principal scientific work, the "Farbenlehre", including the quarto-sized "Erklärung der zur Goethe's Farbenlehre gehörigen Tafeln" and the "Anzeige und Uebersicht" in a mixed edition (I and IV in first, II and III in second counterfeit edition). "Goethe's first publication on optics culminated in his 'Zur Farbenlehre', his longest and, in his own view, best work, today known principally as a fierce and unsuccessful attack on Newton's demonstration that white light is composite" (DSB V, p.445).
Whereas Goethe’s theories were in fact wrong from a purely physical standpoint, the fact remains that Goethe's theories were epoch-making in their physiological and psychological aspects. Indeed, the science of physiological optics was directly stimulated by it and one of its dominant schools in essence represented his approach long after him. His theories still have great value, and a more than scientific validity, to artists and to all those who want to achieve a personal understanding of the natural world - who want to establish their own relationship with that world rather than merely accept what modern science has to say about it. This first edition, aside from its value as an object, is the only edition to contain the complete text, which is in two volumes. Volume I contains a discussion of physiological, physical and chemical colors and a detailed study of Newton’s Optics. Volume II is a historical study of colors as shown in the work of the famous theorists and artists of Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. There are important sections on Robert Boyle, Erasmus Darwin and Benjamin Franklin. The plate volume includes 12 handcolored plates. They are of various sizes. The "Anzeige und Uebersicht" with drop title only as issued. In the appendix to the Farbenlehre published in 1842, 13 additional illustrations on 9 lithographed plates were issued (cf. Hagen, p.89). - Visit our website to see additional images!
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