A few years ago I was on holiday in Marrakech. Visiting beautiful and artistical Majorelle Garden, I took many photos especialy with that incredible “Majorelle blue” colouring the building as well as the flower pots, organising the impressive collection of cactuses.
The house was created by the French orientalist painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) who lived there since 1917. He first built a great workshop in mauresque style and paint it intense blue. Slowly he organized the big garden, who was finished after his wish in 1931. Bought in 1980 by Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé, the Majorelle house belongs today to the Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation. The workshop became a house and is labeled Illustrious Houses since 2011. The foundation takes care of the garden and also keeps fresh the famous blue color not letting it to fade under the bright Moroccan sun.
I guess French artists may have a special sensitivity for an intense blue …
As Jacques Majorelle, Yves Klein did most of his paintings in an intense especially created shade of blue.
In 1954, Yves Klein began to paint monochrome paintings around his idea of “absolute unity” and “perfect serenity”. He tried different colours like ochre, pink, until he choose ultramarin blue. He painted blue hands and nudes in this intense and lovely colour on the canvas in direct contact. But he found that the existent colour was too sad and without depth, so he made research with paint merchant Edouard Adam. They looked for a binder to get to their goal, as they knew that the binder is “guilty” for the refractive index, the angle under wich the pigment particles will be illuminated in the final work. If the binder particles are transparent the light passes through them.
Their research was simplified by the fact that it had to take in account only a single pigment, and not several colours.
Six years later Yves Klein filled a patent at the National Institute of Industrial Property with the formula of their invention – a binder consisting of an original substitute of the traditional oil used by painters. The International Klein Blue IKB was born !
And given the role of the binder in the final result of Yves Klein’s paintings, his blue remains unique and his signature. So unique that you can hardly even get close to this shade using other means.
My next “sticky note” – cleaning tips for your washing machine
photo credits: The red list, Departures