The idea of founding a theory of painting after the model of music theory, was famously suggested by Goethe in 1807, and gained much regard among the avant-garde artists of the 1920s, the Weimar culture period, like Paul Klee.
From Goethe to Klee
Goethe famously said in 1807 that painting "lacks any established, accepted theory as exists in music". Kandinsky, in 1911, reprised Goethe, agreeing that painting needed a solid foundational theory, and such theory should be patterned after the model of music theory, and adding that there is a deep relationship between all the arts, not only between music and painting.
Structural semantic rhetoric
The Belgian semioticians known under the name Groupe µ, developed a method of painting research called structural semantic rhetoric; the aim of this method is to determine the stylistic and aesthetic features of any painting by means of the rhetorical operations of addition, omission, permutation and transposition.
- Marcel Franciscono Paul Klee: His Work and Thought, part 6 'The Bauhaus and Düsseldorf', chap. 'Klee's theory courses', p. 246 and under 'notes to pages 245-54' p.365
- Moshe Barasch (2000) Theories of art - from impressionism to Kandinsky, part IV 'Abstract art', chap. 'Color' pp.332-3
- Goethe 19 May 1807, conversation with Riemer
- Kandinsky p.27
- Winfried Nöth (1995) Handbook of semiotics pp.342, 459
- Jean-Marie Klinkenberg et al. (Groupe µ) (1980) Plan d'une rhétorique de l'image, pp.249-68
- Kandinsky  Concerning the Spiritual in Art, chapter The language of form and colour pp. 27–45