Richard Riss has confirmed the authenticity of this gouache.
Relief-disques, is an outstanding example of Delaunay's iconic pictorial language which focuses on the simultaneous contrasts of color to circular forms. In 1912, the artist's work took a turn towards the avant-garde, as it no longer referred entirely to the external world, but rather to the non-objective realm. Delaunay and his wife, Sonia, made their mark on 20th century Paris as pioneers of Orphism, a movement grounded in the principles of Cubism and dedicated to exploring the relationship between light and color. Orphism sought to encourage a new physical experience transporting the viewer to a higher level of consciousness, inspiring Der Blaue Reiter artists in Germany, the Futurists in Italy, and the Synchromists in America.
Even in its lyrical abstraction, Relief-disques possesses an allusion to the celestial bodies of the sun, the moon and the planets. Concentric and fragmented circle forms coexist harmonically amidst vibrant contrasting colors demonstrating the inherent beauty in Delaunay's geometric design. The added texture of the sand to the composition enhances its dimensionality. Executed near the end of his life, Relief-disques is a refined representation of the artistic principles which Delaunay developed and perfected throughout his oeuvre.
(fig. 1) R. Delaunay, Formes circulaires soleil et lune, 1912-1931, Kunsthaus Zurich.
(fig. 2) Delaunay in front of his orphic painting, Le premier disque, exhibited at the Berlin autumn salon, 1914. Philadelphia Museum of Art.