Robert Delaunay was born in Paris in 1885. He initially studied to become a decorative commercial painter, but in 1904 he decided to pursue fine art. He contributed six works to the Salon des Indépendants that year and in 1906. Delaunay would become an important figure in 20th century art and introduce vibrant color into Cubism, leading to a style known as Orphism.
Delaunay’s theories in his work are mostly concerned with color, light and the belief that color itself has its own powers of expression and form. Franz Marc, August Macke and Paul Klee were influenced by Robert Delaunay’s use of color.
During WWI, from 1914 – 1920, Delaunay was in Portugal and Spain away from the front. He painted abstract circles of color. Portuguese police suspected him of painting signals for German submarines as he often worked along the shore.
After the war, he returned to Paris and worked in a mostly abstract style. Robert Delaunay participated in the 1937 World Fair in Paris with designs of the railway and air travel pavilions. When World War II broke out, he moved to the Auvergne to avoid the invading German army. He died from cancer in 1941 in Montpellier at the age of 56. The famous Art Critic Guillaume Apollinaire once described Robert Delaunay as “an artist who has a monumental vision of the world.”