International Colour Day: Dr. Sarah Taylor on American colour theorist Elizabeth Burris-Meyer

18 March 2021

In advance of International Colour Day on 21 March 2021, Dr. Sarah Taylor, Head of Postgraduate Studies at Leeds Arts University, celebrates the life and work of American colour theorist Elizabeth Burris-Meyer (1899-1969).

Elizabeth Burris-Meyer is the author of several publications including Historical Color Guide Primitive to Modern Times, published in 1938 and Contemporary Color Guide; How Controlled Color Contributes to Modern Living, published in 1947.

Dr. Taylor found that Burris-Meyer’s work is often neglected in the stories and theories of colour history in art & design. In 2017 Dr. Taylor collaborated with fellow artist, Dr Lewis Paul, collating Burris-Meyer’s rare surviving colour books and returning with them to where Burris lived and worked, on a journey back to the light of Connecticut, USA.

Image: Courtesy of Dr. Sarah Taylor

The outcome was a short film about gender, colour and place called Little Pink Bush. The film gathers the remnants of Burris-Meyer’s surviving work and reveals how wondrous this colour work is. The piece generates new insights and contexts around historical gendered art and design references, and hierarchies of theoretical contexts of colour, celebrating the importance of female colourists against the canon of male dominance in painting.

Film: Little Pink Bush, Sarah Taylor and Lewis Paul , 2017