The Artist Birthday Series

Robert Delaunay

The Daily Artist Birthday from TML Arts

Robert Delaunay (12 April 1885 – 25 October 1941), was a French artist who, with his wife Sonia Delaunay, cofounded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes. His later works were more abstract, reminiscent of Paul Klee. His key influence related to bold use of colour and a clear love of experimentation with both depth and tone.

Robert Delaunay, photographed by Man Ray, c. 1920
Robert Delaunay, photographed by Man Ray, c. 1920

Robert Delaunay was born in Paris, the son of George Delaunay and Countess Berthe Félicie de Rose. While he was a child, Delaunay’s parents divorced, and he was raised by his mother’s sister Marie and her husband Charles Damour, in La Ronchère near Bourges. When he failed his final exam and said he wanted to become a painter, his uncle in 1902 sent him to study Decorative Arts in the Belleville district of Paris. At age 19, he left Ronsin to focus entirely on painting and contributed six works to the Salon des Indépendants in 1904.

In 1905 he traveled to Brittany, where he was influenced by the group of Pont-Aven, a group most influenced by the work of Gaugin. Then in 1906, he contributed works he had painted in Brittany to the 22nd Salon des Indépendants, where he met Henri Rousseau.

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