View Full Version : Marattta colour system used by John Sloan and Robert Henri

05-12-2014, 04:21 AM
I have recently been reading and applying the principles of the Maratta colour system, as used by John Sloan and Robert Henri, particularly as interpreted in John Sloan's 'Gist of Art', in combination with Sloan's triangular method of colour mixing.

Has anyone used Sloan's writings as a basis for colour mixing, with the full colours, semi-neutrals and hues he discusses, and with the 'scale of heights' as a guide to mixing values ?

If so I would be keen to share experiences and interpretations of Sloan's descriptions.

Benedict Moleta

05-13-2014, 07:26 AM
Hi Benedict,
Haven’t read the “Gist of Art” or even heard of it before but from your description it looks very interesting so I’ve just ordered a copy of the book.
From your wright up it seams like he might be doing what a lot of painters do and using palette straightedges to harmonize the colour, so here’s hoping for more understanding and explanation of the process :).
Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

:wave: Dave.

05-13-2014, 12:51 PM
Benedict, have you seen Maratta's 1909 patent for his colour system? I've never attempted to use it as it seems rather misguided and over-elaborate to me!:

In Homer Boss The Figure and the Land by Susan Udell there's a story that Henri insisted that all students at his "Henri Art School" had to use the Maratta palette, and that he resigned from the school in 1912 when the student body voted to reject its compulsory use.

The "Dudeen triangle from Sloan's book is fairly well known from it's inclusion in Stephen Quiller's book, and is interesting as an early schema of paint-mixing complementaries. The "scale of heights" is the same as the value scale proposed around 1900 by Denman Ross.

05-14-2014, 02:28 PM
I'd be very interested in reading about the Maratta system Benedict. Maratta sold his own set of paints and George Bellows used the system too producing some fine paintings. I'd like to know how you use the system, what paint colors, how you mix your neutrals, in fact anything you have to share. Can you show us examples?