A weekend’s worth of auctions at DuMouchelles Art Gallery in Detroit, from March 16 through March 18, represent an excellent opportunity to bring a lightning bolt or two of color home to so you can experience this artistic alchemy for yourself.

We begin with the American artist Alexander Calder because, well, just look at this amazing lithograph! Though best known for his mobiles and stabiles, Calder also brought his sculptor’s eye to his fine prints, whose shapes appeared to pierce the picture plane. In this undated print, two shapes, the three primary colors (plus orange), and a bit of black create an eye-popping landscape that suggests a mirage in an Egyptian desert. On the one hand, the place Calder has imagined is stark, but the artist’s comfort with color makes it ultimately cheerful.

A different sort of geometry rules the design of this 29-by-25-inch Navajo rug, which features three borders—black, a white zigzag, and dark teal—which envelop a centipede-like shape on a field of red. On the back, if you will, of the centipede is yet another color, royal blue, that widens at its center to give the stylized insect is corresponding girth. But though it’s at the rug’s center, the blue is not our focal point—surrounded as it is by all that teal, the red cannot help but vibrate.

The mid-1980s were one of Dale Chihuly’s most productive periods. This unique piece, dated 1986 and measuring 12-by-24-by-29 inches, features white “clouds” behind an almost sulfuric chartreuse overlay, all of which is ringed by a sultry lavender lip wrap, to name just two of the colors in this wonderful example from his macchia series.

While the previous example of Chihuly glass was worked hot until it had attained what might be called “perfect deformation,” Chihuly’s contemporary, Joel Philip Myers, produced this 13-inch-tall piece in 1987, only to slice and shape his form once it had completely cooled. Both artists share a love of color, which in this piece Myers treats with a painter’s hand.

Speaking of painters, this framed, four-panel lithograph by Marc Chagall uses color sparingly compared to, say, the Calder. But the yellow sun warms the surreal scene, which we can assume to be spring by the predominance of green in everything from the edges of a sofa to the hair of a flying figure to the feathers of a dove perched in a vase of flowers.

More reductive is this 25 ¾-by-19-inch lithograph—one of five in a portfolio titled “Ludo”—by Keith Haring. Coming from a background in graffiti art, the fine art that Haring produced during his all-too-brief career was dominated by lines, often drawn one atop another in contrasting colors. Here, a black figure drawn sideways is in the forefront, but the red lines behind are anything but obscured. Again, as in the Navajo rug, red wins, taking us by the lapels and giving us a good shake.

Compared to Ellsworth Kelly, Keith Haring’s work looks positively baroque. Kelly was both a minimalist and a colorist, as seen in this screenprint measuring 29-by-41 inches and printed at the famed Gemini G.E.L. studio in Los Angeles. For Kelly, the content of his work was limited to its shape and color, with allusions to geometry, for sure, but never to figures or landscapes. Kelly’s work lives or dies in the relationship between the viewer and his image, without regard to context, time, or tradition. It’s demanding, experienced on its own terms, rather like color itself.

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