In 1870s Paris, the old, academic art establishments were obsessed with the color violet — and they frickin' hated it. When Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Camille Pissarro — aka the impressionists — founded the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc., their first exhibition was, according to St. Clair, a "mission statement, rallying call, and, most importantly, a snub to the Académie des Beaux-Arts."
Critics of the Anonymous Society were scathing, but especially focused on the prominence of the color violet in their works. It became the fixation of those who believed the artists were dangerously troubled, evidence that they might suffer from a disease they called "violettomania." One critic compared Pissarro's depiction of violet trees to a psych ward resident's delusions. Still others hypothesized that the artists did see the world in violet, as a result of their many hours staring at sunny landscapes. Who knew one color could be such a disrupter?