From violet to vermilion III

KHM Gallery, Malmö 2017

Birch and pinewood vitrines with books, documents and ephemera. 2017

Napoleon Bonaparte abdicates on April 4th, on the steps of the Château de Fontainebleau, in the year 1814. That same year the French painter Jean-François Millet is born.

Millet finishes his painting Les Glaneuses, in the year 1857. That same year Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming is born. Along with many women, she rode into the field of astronomy on a rainbow-coloured tide. A new application for the spectroscope — an instrument that utilises the colour spectrum of white light to determine material compositions of celestial bodies — leads to what later would become astrophysics.

In 1888 she is the first to observe the dark and thick clouds of the Horsehead Nebula, towering majestically against a backdrop of glowing bright pinks and purples and mauves. It is located 1,500 light years from Earth, just south of Alnitak, one of the stars that make up Orion’s Belt.

Between 1850 and 1865 Millet paints Starry Night, depicting a dark and gloomy nocturnal landscape within the Forest of Fontainebleau, where the sole light source is the starlit night sky. One star formation is more recognisable than the others: Orion and his giant belt.

As colour assisted the systematisation of the heavens, a second accidental discovery in 1856, made by the English chemist William Henry Perkin, enables colour to spread down below on Earth and completely revolutionise the textiles industry: Mauveine, the first aniline dye.

In 1853 Millet receives an award at the Paris Salon. That same year the French couturier Jacques Doucet is born. He would come to design exquisite couture garments and costumes for stage actresses and singers in order to support his passion for collecting works of art.

In 1929, Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon of 1907, hangs in the couturier's home on 33 rue Saint-James, Neuilly-sur-Seine, as he draws his last breath.

Jones, Kimberly, Kelly, Kennel, Sarah and Aurisch Sarah. In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photography from Corot to Monet. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

Global Star RegistryTM letter and information on the purchase of a star named after Jean- François Millet.

Johnston, Lucy. 19th-Century Fashion in Detail. London: Thames & Hudson, 2016.

Original auction catalogue of the third part of the Jacques Doucet Collection published by Imprimerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1912, of eighteenth-century furniture and art objects.The auction took place in Paris, on the 7th and 8th of June 1912. The proceeds were used by Doucet to acquire Post-Impressionist and Cubist paintings, including Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907.

Dean, Jenny. A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present. Kent: Search Press, 2014.

Rendhal, C. and B. Söderborg. Populär Astronomi. Stockholm: Bokförlaget Natur och Kultur, 1927. The title page has been altered by a previous owner. Acquired at a flea market in Hemse, Gotland.