Biography of Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)

French painter, creator of Orphism, born in Paris on April 12, 1885 and died in 1941. After the divorce of his parents, his uncle and his mother raised him. At seventeen he entered as an apprentice in a theatrical decoration workshop, where he remained two years.

Eiffel Tower among trees (oil on canvas, 1909). Museum Solomo R. Guggenheim (New York).

His first works, influenced by Gauguin and the Pont Aven group exhibited in the Salon des indépendants in 1904. During the following two years, he became interested in neoimpresionistas theories. He frequented to Metzinger and began his friendship with the Customs Rousseau.He began his research on the law of simultaneous contrast of colors. His work from the years 1906-1908 is greatly influenced by Seurat (portrait de Wilhelm Uhde, of 1907, and work on the Cathedral of Laon).

Towards 1909 began the development of a personal style, with the series on Saint Severin, of the city and the Eiffel Tower. Delaunay called this stage transition period of Cézanne, Cubism or destructive period.

San Severino (oil on canvas, 1909). Museum Solomo R. Guggenheim (New York).

In 1910 he married with Sonia Uhde-Terk and settled in Paris. He met Leger and in 1911, invited by Kandinsky, participated in the first exhibition of the second group of the Blaue Rieter in Munich. He began his friendship with Apollinaire, Le Fauconier and Gleizes. In the Salon of the independents in Brussels, represented to Cubism, with Léger and Gleizes.

In 1912 he began the construction period with the first abstract paintings (disk, Circular form) and the series of windows, in which the poem of the same title Apollinaire is inspired. Delaunay abandoned representative attempt, although remain traces of real objects in this series. Analytical Cubism inspires Delaunay fragmentation of forms. The colors are clear and the solar spectrum. In his own words: ".. .the line is limited." And the color gives the depth - not a depth perspective or sequential but simultaneous - along with the shape and movement... "."

In 1912 made his first individual exhibition in the Gallery Barbazanges in Paris, and the following year his first individual overseas, in the Gallery Der Sturm in Berlin, where he traveled with Apollinaire and Cendrars. Apollinaire gave a lecture on what it called Orphism. Delaunay presented the Cardiff team at the Salon des Indépendants.

Interested by the topics, in 1914 he painted the political Drama and tribute Bleriot, who announce their further evolution. The Delaunay spent their holidays in Spain where surprised by the war. They settled in Madrid, where Robert studied the technique of the paintings with wax. In 1915 and 1916 settled near Oporto, where investigated "relations between fast vibrations dissonant colors". In 1917 they returned to Madrid where Delaunay made friendship with Diaghilev, Nijinsky and Stravinsky, Falla Diego Rivera. From then on he made numerous sets for the ballets Russes as Cleopatra (1918). By this time he had correspondence with the dadaists (see Dadaism).

In 1922 he made his first lithograph on the occasion of a great exhibition in the Paul Guillaume's Paris Gallery. He became interested in the portrait and made Soupault, Breton, Aragon, Mayakovsky, etc. In 1923, he made the first projects of billboards; the second series of the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1924. In 1925 Léger and Delaunay performed some frescoes for the international exhibition of decorative arts in Paris, but they were removed pictures as scandalous and daring. 1926 and 1927 he was in contact with all the great German Architects (Gropius, Breuer, Mendelssohn) and in 1928 Solomon R. Guggenheim bought a tower in 1910 for his Museum, which currently boasts more than thirty works of Delaunay.

In 1930 he abandoned figurative subjects and returned to a totally abstract art. He made his first reliefs. Between 1931 and 1935, he returned to the disks and painted the series of beats and rhythms without end. It looked for a painting in the environmental and this led him to make numerous reliefs with new materials. He became interested in the luminous advertising and, with his wife, made a stand in the Hall of light. He projected a phalanstery of artists (the Valley of the artists) in Nesles-la-Vallée.

In 1936 the Museum of modern art in New York presented Delaunay fabrics in the major exhibition Cubism and abstract art. Painted for the Pavilion of the air, in the international exhibition of Paris, air, fire and water. In 1939, already sick, organized in your home some meetings where exposed their ideas about art to young artists and architects, and organized the lounge of the new realities in Gallery Charpentier in Paris, where there are works of Duchamp, Arpand his wife (see Sonia Delaunay), Gleizes, Villon, and himself.

Victim of cancer, died on 25 October 1941 in Montpellier.