| Delaunay, Robert & Sonia Biography
Robert Delaunay was a French painter, who was a pioneer of abstract art in the early 20th century. In 1912 Delaunay moved away from cubism-with its geometric forms and monochromatic colors-to a new style, called Orphism, which concentrated on circular forms and bright colors. Delaunay was one of the earliest completely nonrepresentational painters, and his artwork affected the development of abstract art based on the compositional tensions created by juxtaposed planes of colour.
By 1910 Delaunay had made his own contribution to Cubism in two series of oil paintings, cathedrals and the Eiffel Tower, which combined fragmented Cubist form with dynamic movement and vibrant colour. His Windows series (1912) was one of the first examples of totally abstract art, an important landmark in modern art. His love of rhythm and movement led to several series of oil paintings based on sporting events, such as Sprinters (1924-26), and culminated in dazzling abstract works focusing purely on rhythm, such as the later Rhythms and Eternal Rhythms series.
His wife Sonia Delaunay was a Russian-French painter and designer. Inspired by the forms of cubism and the colors of the French painter Paul Gauguin, the Dutch oil painter Vincent van Gogh, and the Orphists, she developed a style after 1910 based on the juxtaposition, or "simultaneous contrast," of bright prismatic colors. After her husband's death in 1941, Sonia Delaunay continued to work as a painter and designer, and she lived to see the mounting of retrospectives of her artwork by major art museums from the 1950s on. In 1964 Sonia Delaunay became the only woman to have had an exhibition at the Louvre Museum in her own lifetime.
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