Abstract : This paper proposes a novel model for contrast enhancement of RGB images. The average local contrast measure is increased within a variational framework which preserves the hue of the original image by coupling the channels. The user is enabled to intuitively control the level of the contrast as well as the scale of the enhanced details. Moreover, our model avoids large modifications of the original image his-togram and thereby preserves the global illumination of the scene. The minimizer of the proposed functional is computed by a hybrid primal-dual algorithm. Numerical experiments show the reliability of the proposed approach in comparison with state-of-the-art methods.