To Dream, to Collect


Jorrit Tornquist

1938 Gratz, Austria

2 Works exhibited


  • About the Artist
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Bibliography
  • Awards

Jorrit Tornquist (born 26 March 1938) is an artist, a color consultant, and a color theorist. Originally he is Austrian and since 1992 he has obtained Italian citizenship. He is above all a painter. He teaches light-colour at Milan Polytechnic, Faculty of Industrial Design, at the Faculty of Architecture in Graz and in the Carrara Academy in Bergamo. He has been studying colours and perception for forty years.

He started from a very scientific and ecological approach, based on accurate experiments on colour, density and clarity and on the analysis of the complementary effects, according to the Concrete Art tradition. Subsequently, the artist became aware of the insufficiency of an art, which was limited to geometric and programmed projects. Therefore, Tornquist elaborated his own "Theory of Colour", based on his technical knowledge, together with personal sensibility and studies about colours effects on mood. The merger of scientific and psychological elements in the work, his attempt to conciliate the colour structural-chromatic value with the sensitive-affective value, in fact, are the artist's actual innovations.

Tornquist firmly believes in colours. Colours are his philosophy of life. He succeeded in assimilating the matter of colours with the ideal phenomenon of light, thanks to very helpful materials. In addition to tempera and oil colours, he uses papers, cushions, and rubbed or raised canvas forming three-dimensional geometric figures that produce light. According to what he says: "There is matter, but I don't need it. I need a three-dimensional texture, in order to make the colour be seen as light, for two-dimension means a different perception of light than the real perception of light". Tornquist did not only paint pictures. As a colourist, he also extended his activity to the practical life, to the rural and city architecture. In 1978, he collaborated to Turin General Town-planning Scheme. In 1995, he attended to the colours of Jakomini Platz, in the centre of Graz, his native town. Then, he also attended to the colours of innumerable great buildings, e.g. professional schools, industries, and hotels.

In 1996-99, he realised the chromatic plan for the thermostat of Brescia Municipal Services Board. The work is regarded as a true sculpture, more than 120 meters high. Tornquist joined a very clean image to high technology, fully respecting the environment. The system is harmonically based on the green of vegetation, the blue of the sky, the warm yellow and red as dominant descriptive colour.

The non-industrial buildings final aspect is an iridescent aluminium skin, obtained through stratification, perfectly integrated with the surrounding landscape.


Studio f22 - Palazzolo sull'Oglio
Exakte Tendenzen - Schloss Buchberg

Neue Galerie Studio - Graz
Katholische Hochschulgemeinde - Münzgraben - Graz
Action: "Apartheid" - Graz
Galerie Glacies - Graz

Manzoni Cultura - Monza
Galerie Gajetan Grill - Vienna

Galerie An Der Fabrik - Spital Am Pyhrn
Centro Culturale St. Elmo - Salò

Neue Galerie - Graz
Karntner Landesgalerie - Klagenfurt

Galèria Dorottya - Budapest

F22 - Palazzolo sull'Oglio

Galerie Glacies - Graz
Galleria Linea 70 - Verona
Bidart - Bergamo, Galleria Valente di Finale Ligure

arte struktura, Milan
Uxa, Novara

Palazzolo S/O, Studio F 22
Cernusco su Naviglio, Galleria Zozos

Galleria il salotto, Como
Plaza Gallery, Tokyo

Galleria Vismara, Milan
Naturparkzentrum kulturverein, St. Gallen
Museo d'arte moderna, Gazoldo degli ippoliti

Galleria del credito Valtellinese, Sondrio
Palazzo Sertoli
Galleria d'arte Verbania, Verbania
Palazzolo S/O, Studio F 22

Torre di Colnago, Cornate D'adda
Spazio Cultura, Cortina D'ampezzo
Elektro Franz Sommer Oeg, Furstenfeld
Galleria Anna Osemont, Albissola
Fiera d'arte, Expoarte, Montichiari

Galleria Vismara, Milan
Palazzo della Triennale, colore Casa, Milan
Palazzolo S/O, Studio F 22

Galerie Lendl, Red, Graz
Galleria R. Costa, Valenza Po

Palazzolo S/O, Studio F 22, Red & Blue

Galleria Comunale d'Arte, Palazzo del Ridotto, Cesena
Galleria free Time club



Recherches objectives, Bruxelles
Tangenten 70, Vienna
Österreichische Kunst 70, Graz

Fiera internazionale, Colonia - Basilea

Galerija Suvremene Umjetnosti, Zagabria

Fiera Iiternazionale, Berlin, Basilea, Museo Kansas City

Geplante Malerei, Münster

Didattica, Forlì

Colore, Modigliana

Geometrica 77, Schloss Buchberg

Biennale di Venezia 
Electa, Milano
Kunstraum-Raumkunst, Schloss Buchberg

L'apprendista stregone, Faenza

Il cerchio, Dioce Ecbatana- Turin

Dioce Ecbatana - Turin
"Art & Tabac" - Palazzo Ruspoli, Rome

"Big & Great" - Palazzo Martinengo, Brescia

"La simdrome di Leonardo", Turin, Barcellona


J. Tornquist, Colore e luce, Ikon Editrice, Milan, 1999.
AA.VV., Jorrit Tornquist. Color-works, Stile Editore, Brescia, 2006.
U. Apollonio, Jorrit Tornquist, in Catalog, Vismara Contemporary Art, Milan 1966.
G. Dorfles, in Catalog, Cenobio Visualità, Milan 1970.
L. Caramel, in Catalog, Vismara Contemporary Art, Milan 1971.
W. Skreiner, in Catalog of Farbe Empfindung Gefühlsraum, Neue Galerie, Graz 1973.
G. Dorfles, Color Team, Milan 1974.
E. Biffi Gentili, Free from Gestalt ?, in Tornquist 1959-78, Museum, Alessandria 1978.
A. Veca, in the Anthological Exhibition Catalog, Pinacoteca Comunale, Macerata 1979.
C. Belloli, in Colore as light-shadow opposition from mini-chromes to spatialized luciumbrulari, Arte Struktura, Milan 1980.
W. Skreiner, Continuity and openness in the work of Jorrit Tornquist, 1980, in Catalog of the exhibition Jorrit Tornquist 1959-1995, Studio F22, Palazzolo sull'Oglio 1995.
E. Biffi Gentili, Introduction, in J. Tornquist, Color and light, Hoepli Editrice, Milan 1983.
W. Titz, Bagliori in a tin box - News on Tornquist, in Catalog Jerseits von Farbe, Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz 1987.
E. Gombrich, The sorcerer's apprentice, Faenza 1990.
A. Veca, 1990, in Catalog of the exhibition Jorrit Tornquist 1959-1995, Studio F22, Palazzolo sull'Oglio 1995.
W. Titz, Blind Macules, Graz 1993.
E. Biffi Gentili, Jorrit Tornquist, or of vagueness, 1994, in Catalog of the exhibition Jorrit Tornquist 1959-1995, Studio F22, Palazzolo sull'Oglio 1995.

2006 Wtert Industry Award, Columbia University New York, USA

Works by Jorrit Tornquist

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