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Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)

Robert Delaunay

POne of the most memorable paintings i recently saw was at the Pompidou museum in Metz. Together with a magnificent large Miro the Delaunay impressed me most.

Robert Delaunay, and his wife Sonia, were influential artists from the 20th century who combined strongly in the same abstract movements

Orphism is the movement in which they are most strongly linked and this artistic style involved colourful, geometric shapes, similar to the Kandinsky circles painting, known as Farbstudie Quadrate. The Delaunays are generally regarded as having been involved from the very start of this movement. There are clear similarities between their work and other related artists such as Piet MondrianWassily KandinskyKazimir Malevich and Paul Klee.

This website will look into the careers of both Sonia and Robert. Robert Delaunay had a highly impressive control and understanding of colour and this was a crucial element for modern abstract artists, where objects would be symbolic but simple, making colour choices even more fundamental to each art work that they produced. Many from this era had the technical methods at hand to produce art in more traditional styles but they simply preferred the sort of art that you can see spread across this website.

Robert Delaunay was born and bred in France, though his career was to achieve success across Europe, once he had been embraced by other notable modern artists like Kandinsky who appreciated the direction that he was going in and also wanted to encourage the further spread of modern art movements down as many avenues as possible. French art had also had a history of leading from the front and so it was beneficial to have French artists who wanted to push abstract art onwards.

The original title of the painting above was Rhythm, Joie de Vivre and is one of the best known from this painter. Artist Delaunay began his career with many landscapes which held a touch of abstraction but it was only later in his life when he really took it further into the realms of what we consider Orphism with exceptionally simple displays of geometric shapes, complicated only slightly by his use of tones and colour.

Most contemporary artists show a development into the abstract rather than an immediate start there, particularly those who came at the start of this period. Franz Marc is another artist whose work may interest you if you enjoy the art featured here from the careers of both Robert and Sonia Delaunay. That artist produced many abstract works of animals but he was not quite as pure abstract as the Orphism styles of the Delaunays, who really took their work down to the most simplistic possible, whilst still maintaining symbolic messages in the background.

The early stages of this artist offered some similarities to the work of post-impressionists like Vincent Van Gogh and it seems that as the artist grew in experience and confidence that he began to forge his own original style which was later to create the Orphism movement, in conjunction with the similar style of his wife Sonia, who herself was a contemporary artist. Red Eiffel Tower in Paris is shown above and is a brilliant adaptation of this world-famous piece of architecture which has been included in the careers of countless artists, not all of whom have been French.

There is a beauty to the structure but also a highly symbolic nature to it as France’s most recognisable building. The role of French artists in European art has also ensured that many of these paintings of the Eiffel Tower have also been well-publicised. It was the artist’s depiction of the Eiffel Tower which really drew in a lot of new fans who found his work exciting and at that time it was not quite as radically abstract as he later became, thus appealing to a wider audience who were only just starting to embrace the ideas and techniques of abstract artists.

French art fans would always respond well to interesting depictions of their national symbol, and things were no different when Robert unveiled his Red Eiffel Tower. Colour was unquestionably the key to success for both of the Delaunays and they would go for bright tones which was very much the hallmark of contemporary art. Up until the French impressionists there had always been a relatively unoriginal use of colour, normally just to replicate exactly what the artist could see with their own eyes. Nowadays, there is a far great experimentation with colour and artists like those here helped to establish that. has from both Delaunay artist books in its inventory.

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