Delaunay spent much of the First World War in Portugal with his wife Sonia. Nevertheless, he continued to be active in his work, and undertook new developments, inspired as he was by his new surroundings, which he described as ‘violent contrasts of coloured marks, women’s clothing, striking shawls of delicious, metallic greens, watermelons. Forms and colours: women disappearing in mountains of pumpkins, vegetables, enchanting markets’ (quoted by P. Francastel in Robert Delaunay, Du cubisme à l’art abstrait, Paris, 1957, p. 127).
The present work is an accomplished study for Delaunay’s major painted work of the war years, La Verseuse, today in the Musée National d’Art Moderne (fig. I). It is of great importance since it underlines Delaunay’s development towards an art in which colour and design are on equal footing in the conception of the work as a whole, anticipating his later and purely abstract Rythmes series.
FIG. I, Robert Delaunay, La Verseuse, 1916, oil and wax on canvas, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris
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