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He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, attended and served on the faculty of Massachusetts Normal Art School, and died in nearby Brookline, Massachusetts.
As a painter, he was noted for seascapes and portraits.
Munsell is famous for inventing the Munsell color system, an early attempt at creating an accurate system for numerically describing colors. He wrote three books about it: A Color Notation (1905), Atlas of the Munsell Color System (1915) and one published posthumously, A Grammar of Color: Arrangements of Strathmore Papers in a Variety of Printed Color Combinations According to The Munsell Color System (1921). The Munsell color order system has gained international acceptance and has served as the foundation for many other color order systems, including CIELAB. In 1917, he founded the Munsell Color Company.
Munsell’s son, A.E.O. Munsell, continued to popularize Munsell's color system after his death
- Albert Munsell was an alumnus and member of the faculty at Massachusetts College of Art and Design
- Munsell Color Science Laboratory at Rochester Institute of Technology.
- Munsell products at the website of X-Rite, current owners of the Munsell Color Company.
- U.S. Patent 417,831. Artist's Easel. December 1889.
- U.S. Patent 640,792. Color-Sphere and Mount. January 1900.
- U.S. Patent 686,827. Photometer. 19 November 1901.
- U.S. Patent 717,596. Spinning-Top. 6 January 1903.
- U.S. Patent 824,374. Color Chart or Scale. June 1906.
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