Born in Paris, France, 1885 - 1941
Robert Delaunay was a French artist best known for his vibratory paintings of modern life.
Interested in conveying a sense of dynamism in his work, Delaunay often chose icons of human progress as motifs for his paintings. “Without visual perception, there is no light, no movement,” he once explained. “This movement is provided by relationships of uneven measures, by color contrasts, which constitute reality.”
Born on April 12, 1885 in Paris, France, he grew up in an affluent family and apprenticed a theater designer as a youth.
Meeting Henri Rousseau in 1903 compelled the young Delaunay to pursue a career in the arts, and he quickly became a fixture in the Parisian avant-garde, alongside Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, and Wassily Kandinsky.
In 1912, his friend the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, coined the term Orphism to describe Delaunay’s and his wife Sonia Delaunay’s work.
Apollinaire repurposed the word which was originally used to describe a mystic sect of ancient Greece that worshiped Orpheus, the lyre-playing poet of Greek mythology.
The artist and his wife survived World War I unscathed, despite financial hardships.
During the later stages of his career, the artist’s work became increasingly abstract, often consisting only of concentric circles of different hues.
Delaunay died on October 25, 1941 in Montpelier, France.
Today, his works are held in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Kunstmuseum Basel, among others.