Pantone Color of the Year 2020 Is a Classic Blue Familiar in Art and Antiques

  • December 04, 2019 19:09

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Rose and Thistle, furnishing fabric, William Morris, 1881, England. Museum no. T.634-1919. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Mary Lord Stevens (1833-1920) Dusk at Sea. Oil on paper mounted to board, 10 x 14 inches. Signed and dated 1903, lower right.
Hawthorne Fine Art, New York
Shown in the 2015-17 PAFA traveling exhibition "Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis" is Norman Lewis (1909–1979) Seachange, 1975. Oil on canvas, 48 x 78 in. Private Collection.
© Estate of Norman W. Lewis;Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, NY
Platter, earthenware with blue printed design depicting the Arms of the State of Delaware, made by Thomas Mayer, Staffordshire, 1826-30, l.16½ in, w. 13 in. Courtesy Winterthur Museum. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont. 1958.1847.
PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is the 2020 color of the year.
From specialist Laura Fisher, an antique Chevron Blue Tobacco quilt, Mennonite.

For 20 years, PANTONE has chosen a color that the company anticipates will be on trend for the year ahead. For 2020, Classic Blue is the look, an ever-popular shade that has popped up in decorative arts and painting palettes across cultures and millenia.

"A timeless and enduring blue hue, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is elegant in its simplicity," reads the press release. "Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era."

Expect to catch the blue hue in interior design and the marketplace in 2020. PANTONE partners with brands to promote the color in the design world yearlong.

The reassuring blue has long been a prevalent glaze in ceramics, especially embodied in iconic Staffordshire patterns and 18th century Canton for the Chinese export market, along with Syrian, Chinese, Delft and many other wares that oftentimes bleed into cobalt. 

It's a jewel tone that recalls the Aesthetic, Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts movements. Consider the deep ground colors in a William Morris textile.

In fact, this blue is everywhere across eras, from the ceiling of French Gothic Sainte-Chapelle to Bauhaus carpet designs. 

Marine art is, of course, awash in Classic Blue, how else could Montague Dawson, Antonio Jacobsen or the like conjure up the depths of high seas on sunny days?

Thinking of the sea brings to mind the term sea change, a sort of metamorphosis that comes about as figurative tides sweep in to transform the moment. While blue is timeless in appeal, it also can signal renewal.

Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh

Since this is a presidential election year, Classic Blue could nod to the U.S. flag, and the hue often occurs in American quilts, folk art (see the blue shield under a Bellamy eagle) ...and corporate logos. 

Classic Blue is a calm counterpoint to last year's color of the year, Living Coral.

"Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge," the company says. 

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