Delaunay's study of color theory was influenced by the painting of Georges Seurat, whose use of contrasting and complementary colors in his Pointillist compositions revolutionized painting at the end of the nineteenth century. Delaunay expanded upon the expressive potential of color in his painting, allowing an emphasis on color to dominate over the strictures of form. Max Imdahl wrote, "For Robert Delaunay, colors are the painter's actual language: 'Color is form and subject.' In addition, Delaunay considered the language of color the most human language imaginable in art. Every human being, he said, is capable of being affected by the universal language of colors, by their play, movement, chords, rhythms—in short, by those arrangements that are especially suited to man's natural inclinations" (Gustav Vriesen & Max Imdahl, Robert Delaunay: Light and Color, New York, 1967, p. 80).
Two years before he painted the present work, Delaunay wrote in a letter to Franz Marc on December 14, 1912: "I have an end, an artistic belief that is unique and that cannot be classified without risking becoming ponderous. I love poetry because it is higher than psychology. But I love painting more because I love light and clarity and it calms me. This is how I would have liked to be understood, but what does it matter after all? It is the image alone that is important..." (quoted in Visions of Paris: Robert Delaunay's Series (exhibition catalogue), Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, 1997, p. 129).
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