Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)
Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)

Relief; Rhythms

Details
Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)
Delaunay, R.
Relief; Rhythms
signed and dated 'r delaunay 1932' (lower left)
oil and plaster relief on canvas laid down on masonite
39 x 32 in. (100.3 x 82.2 cm.)
Painted in 1932

Lot Essay

Jean Louis Delaunay has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

In Relief; Rhythms, Delaunay applied his pictorial language of simultaneous contrasts of colors to circular forms. These paintings innovative because they no longer refer to the external world but rather to the non-objective realm. Yet, as Relief; Rhythms demonstrates, there is an allusion to the celestial bodies of the sun, the moon and the planets. Circular forms of bright hues of red and blue are affixed to the white background, and seem to float in space. This effect is the result of Delaunay's dedication to studying the play of colors in rays of light, prisms, and halos formed around light bulbs.
Delaunay, along with Frantisek Kupka (see lots 609, 628-629) and Francis Picabia, was a major proponent of Orphism. The movement was championed by poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire, who extolled the movement for taking Cubism in a more lyrical, pure direction. He defined Orphism as "the art of painting new structures out of elements which have not been borrowed from the visual sphere, but have been created entirely by the artist himself, and been endowed by him with a fullness of reality. The work of the orphic artist must simultaneously give a pure aesthetic pleasure, a structure which is self-evident, and a sublime meaning, that is, a subject. This is pure art" (G. Apollinaire, The Cubist Painters: Aesthetic Mediations 1913, New York, 1949, p. 17-18).
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