Robert Delaunay, ‘Political Drama’, 1914, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
overall: 88.7 x 67.3 cm (34 15/16 x 26 1/2 in.)  framed: 103.5 x 83.8 x 5 cm (40 3/4 x 33 x 1 15/16 in.)

Image rights: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

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About Robert Delaunay

With his embrace of color contrasts and abstraction, Robert Delaunay pioneered the transition from Cubism to lyrical abstraction along with his wife Sonia Delaunay and Frantisek Kupka. The poet Guillaume Apollinaire coined their new style Orphism, in reference to the mythological figure Orpheus. Taking the fragmented Cubist forms as his starting point, Delaunay imbued his work with Fauvist and Neo-Impressionist-inspired color to create a sense of dynamism that appealed to the senses. His first “Eiffel Tower” series (1910-12) exemplifies what Delaunay referred to as his destructive phase, an exploration of the potential of light to disintegrate a solid structure. He became one of the earliest completely non-representational painters with his “Windows” (1912) and “Colored Discs” (1913) series. Orphism greatly influenced the Munich-based group of painters known as Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), including Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc.

French, 1885-1941, Paris, France, based in Paris, France