Leave feedback
Loading search results
About us
The Art Story Homepage Artists Robert Delaunay
Robert Delaunay Photo

Robert Delaunay

French Painter

Movements and Styles: Cubism, Orphism

Born: April 12, 1885 - Paris, France

Died: October 25, 1941 - Montpellier, France

Robert Delaunay Timeline

"The need for a new subject has inspired the poets, launching them onto a fresh path and bringing to their attention to poetry of la Tour (Eiffel tower), which communicates mysteriously with the whole world. Rays of light, waves of symphonic sounds. Factories, bridges, iron structures, airships, the numberless gyrations of aeroplanes, windows seen by crowd simultaneously."

Robert Delaunay Signature

Summary

Robert Delaunay's colorful and formally experimental paintings were a unique fusion of early-20th-century European artistic trends. His best-known works centered on the visually and intellectually stimulating world of Belle Epoque Paris in which he and his wife, Sonia Delaunay (Terk), founded the Orphism movement. The style was distinguished by faceted compositions, vibrant color, and contemporary subject matter that together conveyed delight in the modern life and its technological innovations.

Key Ideas

Influenced by Neo-Impressionism and the painting technique known as pointillism or divisionism, in his early works Delaunay created forms using squares of color that resembled a mosaic. He often left small areas of canvas blank to create a sense of space and light; even at this stage of development his interest in brilliant color was notable.
As his style matured, Delaunay further developed his mosaic-like squares into more complex geometric facets in which both solid objects and their surrounding spaces were fragmented, much like Cubism. These canvases are known for their dynamic sense of movement and their celebration of urban life, particularly Paris with Delaunay's oft-repeated motif of the Eiffel Tower.
Delaunay penned his own theories of color in which he discusses both color as a material form and its great expressive power. He was particularly captivated by how the interaction of various colors generated impressions of movement and depth without allusion to nature. Delaunay wrote that the "breaking up of form by light creates colored planes... [that] are the structure of the picture... nature is no longer a subject for description but a pretext." Eventually, he abandoned "images or reality that come to corrupt the order of color" - thus turning to complete abstraction.
Robert Delaunay Photo

Robert Delaunay was born in 1885 to eccentric upper class parents, George Delaunay and Berthe Félicie de Rose. His mother, an irresponsible character fond of society life, called herself 'Countess' though the authenticity of her claims to French aristocracy are in question. His early life in Paris was privileged yet strained - his parents divorced when Delaunay was just four years old and he barely saw his father after this. Taken in by his aunt and uncle, he was raised in a grand estate in La Ronchère near Bourges, by coincidence mirroring the childhood experience of his future wife, Sonia, also brought up by a wealthy uncle and aunt in St Petersburg.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Robert Delaunay
Interactive chart with Robert Delaunay's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart
Show influences

Artists

Paul GauguinPaul Gauguin
Henri RousseauHenri Rousseau
Georges SeuratGeorges Seurat
Claude MonetClaude Monet
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso

Personal Contacts

Guillaume ApollinaireGuillaume Apollinaire
Blaise CendrarsBlaise Cendrars
Sonia DelaunaySonia Delaunay

Movements

SymbolismSymbolism
FauvismFauvism
PointillismPointillism
Influences on Artist
Influences on Artist
Robert Delaunay
Robert Delaunay
Years Worked: 1885 - 1941
Influenced by Artist
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Paul KleePaul Klee
August MackeAugust Macke
Marc ChagallMarc Chagall
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky
Diego RiveraDiego Rivera

Personal Contacts

Guillaume ApollinaireGuillaume Apollinaire
Albert GleizesAlbert Gleizes
Jacques VillonJacques Villon
Igor StravinskyIgor Stravinsky
Sergei DiaghilevSergei Diaghilev

Movements

Der Blaue ReiterDer Blaue Reiter
Post-Painterly AbstractionPost-Painterly Abstraction
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Sarah Jenkins

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Sarah Jenkins
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
First published on 07 Dec 2015. Updated and modified regularly. Information
[Accessed ]