Quotes about the Color Gray

No things could seem further apart than the doubt of grey and the decision of scarlet. Yet grey and red can mingle, as they do in the morning clouds… ~G.K. Chesterton, “The Glory of Grey,” Alarms and Discursions, 1910

Better gray than garishness! ~Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867)

Now, among the heresies that are spoken in this matter is the habit of calling a grey day a “colourless” day. Grey is a colour, and can be a very powerful and pleasing colour… A grey clouded sky is indeed a canopy between us and the sun; so is a green tree, if it comes to that. But the grey umbrellas differ as much as the green in their style and shape, in their tint and tilt. One day may be grey like steel, and another grey like dove’s plumage. One may seem grey like the deathly frost, and another grey like the smoke of substantial kitchens. ~G.K. Chesterton, “The Glory of Grey,” Alarms and Discursions, 1910

Grey. It makes no statement whatever; it evokes neither feelings nor associations: it is really neither visible nor invisible. Its inconspicuousness gives it the capacity to mediate, to make visible, in a positively illusionistic way, like a photograph. It has the capacity that no other colour has, to make ‘nothing’ visible. ~Gerhard Richter, letter to Edy de Wilde, 1975 February 23rd

Variety of climate should always go with stability of abode… an Englishman’s house is not only his castle; it is his fairy castle. Clouds and colours of every varied dawn and eve are perpetually touching and turning it from clay to gold, or from gold to ivory. There is a line of woodland beyond a corner of my garden which is literally different on every one of the three hundred and sixty-five days. Sometimes it seems as near as a hedge, and sometimes as far as a faint and fiery evening cloud. ~G.K. Chesterton, “The Glory of Grey,” Alarms and Discursions, 1910

At nightfall, colors disappear. Moon’s paintbrush has only a palette of shadows: creamy gray, inky black, illusive indigo. ~Dr. SunWolf, 2013 tweet, professorsunwolf.com

      The enemies of grey… are fond of bringing forward the argument that colours suffer in grey weather, and that strong sunlight is necessary to all the hues of heaven and earth… It is true that sun is needed to burnish and bring into bloom the tertiary and dubious colours; the colour of peat, pea-soup, Impressionist sketches, brown velvet coats, olives, grey and blue slates, the complexions of vegetarians, the tints of volcanic rock, chocolate, cocoa, mud, soot, slime, old boots; the delicate shades of these do need the sunlight to bring out the faint beauty that often clings to them.
      But… if you choke your garden with poppies and geraniums, if you paint your house sky-blue and scarlet, if you wear, let us say, a golden top-hat and a crimson frock-coat, you will not only be visible on the greyest day, but you will notice that your costume and environment produce a certain singular effect… rich colours actually look more luminous on a grey day, because they are seen against a sombre background and seem to be burning with a lustre of their own. ~G.K. Chesterton, “The Glory of Grey,” Alarms and Discursions, 1910