Orphism (art)

Orphism or Orphic Cubism, a term coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1912, was an offshoot of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors, influenced by Fauvism, the theoretical writings of Paul Signac, Charles Henry and the dye chemist Eugène Chevreul. This movement, perceived as key in the transition from Cubism to Abstract art, was pioneered by František Kupka, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, who relaunched the use of color during the monochromatic phase of Cubism.[1] The meaning of the term Orphism was elusive when it first appeared and remains to some extent vague.[2]

Robert Delaunay, Simultaneous Windows on the City, 1912, Kunsthalle Hamburg


The Orphists were rooted in Cubism but moved toward a pure lyrical abstraction, seeing painting as the bringing together of a sensation of pure colors. More concerned with the expression and significance of sensation, this movement began with recognizable subjects but was rapidly absorbed by increasingly abstract structures. Orphism aimed to dispense with recognizable subject matter and to rely on form and color to communicate meaning. The movement also aimed to express the ideals of Simultanism: the existence of an infinitude of interrelated states of being.[3]

The decomposition of spectral light expressed in Neo-Impressionist color theory of Paul Signac and Charles Henry played an important role in the formulation of Orphism. Robert Delaunay, Albert Gleizes, and Gino Severini, all knew Henry personally.[4] Charles Henry, a mathematician, inventor, esthetician, and intimate friend of the Symbolist writers Félix Fénéon and Gustave Kahn, met Seurat, Signac and Pissarro during the last Impressionist exhibition in 1886. Henry would take the final step in bringing emotional associational theory into the world of artistic sensation: something that would influence greatly the Neo-Impressionists. Henry and Seurat were in agreement that the basic elements of art—the line, particle of color, like words—could be treated autonomously, each possessing an abstract value independent of one another, if so chose the artist. "Seurat knows well" wrote Fénéton in 1889, "that the line, independent of its topographical role, possesses an assessable abstract value" in addition, of course, to the particles of color, and the relation of both to the observer's emotion. The underlying theory behind Neo-Impressionsim would have a lasting effect on the works produced in the coming years by the likes of Robert Delaunay.[4] Indeed, the Neo-Impressionists had succeeded in establishing an objective scientific basis for their painting in the domain of color. The Cubists were to do so in both the domain of form and dynamics, and the Orphists would do so with color too.

The Symbolists had used the word orphique in relation to the Greek myth of Orpheus, who they perceived as the ideal artist. Apollinaire had written a collection of quatrains in 1907 entitled Bestiaire ou cortège d’Orphée (Paris, 1911), within which Orpheus was symbolized as a poet and artist. For both Apollinaire and the Symbolists who preceded him, Orpheus was associated with mysticism, something that would inspire artistic endeavors. The voice of light that Apollinaire mentioned in his poems was a metaphor for inner experiences. Though not fully articulated in his poems, the voice of light is identified as a line that could be colored and become a painting. The Orphic metaphor thus represented the artist’s power to create new structures and color harmonies, in an innovative creative process that combined to form a sensuous experience.[2]

Guillaume Apollinaire

Sonia Delaunay, 1914, Prismes électriques, oil on canvas, 250 x 250 cm, Musée National d'Art Moderne
Sonia Delaunay, 1914, Prismes électriques, oil on canvas, 250 x 250 cm, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris

The term Orphism was coined by poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire at the Salon de la Section d'Or in 1912, referring to the works of František Kupka. During his lecture at the Section d'Or exhibit Apollinaire presented three of Kupka's abstract works as perfect examples of pure painting, as anti-figurative as music.[5]

In Les Peintres Cubistes, Méditations Esthétiques (1913) Apollinaire described Orphism as "the art of painting new totalities with elements that the artist does not take from visual reality, but creates entirely by himself. [...] An Orphic painter's works should convey an untroubled aesthetic pleasure, but at the same time a meaningful structure and sublime significance. According to Apollinaire Orphism represented a move towards a completely new art-form, much as music was to literature. Orphic painters cited analogies with music in their titles; for example, Kupka’s Amorpha: Fugue in Two Colors (1912) and Francis Picabia’s abstract composition Dance at the Source (1912) and Wassily Kandinsky’s Über das Geistige in der Kunst (1912). Kandinsky's detailed theoretical essays described the correlations between color and sound. Robert Delaunay, also preoccupied with relations between color and music, highlighted the purity and independence of color, and successfully exhibited with the Blaue Reiter at the invitation of Kandinsky. Fernand Léger and Marcel Duchamp, as they tended towards abstraction, were also included as Orphists in the writings of Apollinaire.[2]

Apollinaire stayed with the Delaunays during the winter of 1912, becoming close friends and elaborating on many ideas. Apollinaire wrote several texts discussing their work to promote the concept of Orphism. In March 1913 Orphism was exhibited to the public at the Salon des Indépendants. In his review of the Salon published in L’Intransigeant (25 March 1913), Apollinaire wrote that ‘it combines painters of totally different characters, all of whom have nonetheless achieved a more internalized, more popular and more poetic vision of the universe and of life’. And in Montjoie (29 March 1913) Apollinaire argued for the abolition of Cubism in favour of Orphism: ‘If Cubism is dead, long live Cubism. The kingdom of Orpheus is at hand!’

The Herbst salon (Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon, Berlin) of 1913, organized by Herwarth Walden of Der Sturm, exhibited many works by Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Jean Metzinger’s L'Oiseau bleu (1913, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris), Albert Gleizes' Les Joueurs de football (1912-13, National Gallery of Art), paintings by Picabia, and Léger, along with several Futurist paintings. This exhibition marked a turning-point in Apollinaire’s relation with R. Delaunay (which would cool markedly), following some remarks in an argument with Umberto Boccioni about the ambiguity of the term ‘simultaneity’. This would be the last time Apollinaire used the term Orphism in his critical analyses of art; as he turned his attention increasingly towards Picabia and Alexander Archipenko, but most of all towards the Futurists.[2]

Delaunay ChampDeMars
Robert Delaunay, Champs de Mars. La Tour rouge. 1911. Art Institute of Chicago.

The Delaunays

Sonia Terk Delaunay and Robert Delaunay, a husband and wife duo, were to become the main protagonists of the Orphic movement, Robert Delaunay also studied different styles of painting, such as Abstract Art. In their earlier works, their styles focused on Fauvist colors with various degrees of abstraction; particularly evident in Sonia's Finnish Girl (1907) and Robert's Paysage au disque (1906). The former painting relies heavily on bright colors and smooth transitions between forms, while the latter relies on color and mosaic-like brushstrokes painted under the influence of Jean Metzinger, also a Neo-Impressionist (with highly Divisionist and Fauve components) at the time.[4]

Their works became increasingly identifiable by the 'simultaneous' contrasting of colors and the tendency towards non-representation. In Robert's Eiffel Tower Series, the subject is portrayed as if seen from several viewpoints at once; employing the concept of 'mobile perspective' developed by his close friend Metzinger. Soon, instead of using muted tones as the Cubists, he would paint with bold, bright colors juxtaposed one next to the other (a concept derived from Neo-Impressionist color theory). He often portrayed the tower with reds and pinks with cooler colors throughout. The more Robert painted the tower, the more abstract, fragmented and colorful it became.

In 1913 the Delaunays showed their works in the Salon des Indépendants and the Herbst Salon, the latter being the first Orphist Salon, which also hosted works by Picabia, Metzinger, Gleizes, Léger, and Futurist painters. Unlike others associated with Orphism, the Delaunays would return to this style throughout their lives.

Eugène Chevreul

One of Robert's biggest influences, besides his wife, was the chemist Eugène Chevreul. Most famous for discovering margarine, Chevreul delved in dye chemistry as well as the aesthetics of simultaneous contrast of colors. He had three main ideas to his color theories: "when complementary colors are juxtaposed, each appears to be more intense than when seen in isolation" and "if there is a perceptible difference in dark-light value between the two colors, then the darker will appear to be even darker" as well as that "all colors present in the field of vision at the same time mutually modify one another in specific ways". Chevreul influenced many artists because he understood scientifically what many artists expressed instinctively.

After 1913

Even after Apollinaire had separated from the Delaunays and Orphism had lost its novelty as a new art form, the Delaunays continued painting in their personal shared style. They may not have always called their work Orphic, but the aesthetics and theories were the same. Robert continued painting while Sonia delved into other media, including fashion, interior and textile design, all within the realm of Orphism.


Orphism as a movement was short-lived, essentially coming to an end before World War I. In spite of the use of the term the works categorized as Orphism were so different that they defy attempts to place them in a single category.[6] Artists intermittently referred to as Orphists by Apollinaire, such as Léger, Picabia, Duchamp and Picasso, independently created new categories that could hardly be classified as Orphic. The term Orphism most obviously embraced paintings by František Kupka, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, if limited to implications imposed by color, light, and the expression of non-representational compositions. Even Robert Delaunay thought this description misrepresented his intentions, though his temporary classification as Orphic had proved successful. The American painters Patrick Henry Bruce and Arthur Burdett Frost, two of Delaunay’s pupils, strove to create a similar art-form circa 1912. The Synchromists Morgan Russell and Stanton Macdonald-Wright wrote their own manifestos in an attempt to distance themselves from the Orphism of Robert Delaunay, but their art at times inevitably appeared Orphic. Essentially a stylistic sub-category of Abstract art created by Apollinaire, Orphism was an elusive term from which artists included within its scope persistently attempted to detach themselves.[2]

See also

References and sources

  1. ^ Tate Glossary retrieved 31 July 2014
  2. ^ a b c d e Museum of Modern Art, New York, Hajo Düchting, From Grove Art Online, 2009 Oxford University Press
  3. ^ Tate glossary Retrieved December 28, 2010
  4. ^ a b c Robert Herbert, 1968, Neo-Impressionism, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
  5. ^ The Cubist Painters (Les Peintres Cubistes: Méditations esthétiques), Guillaume Apollinaire, 1913, translation by Peter Read, University of California Press, 25 oct. 2004
  6. ^ Christopher Green, 2009, Cubism, MoMA, Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press
  • Baron, Stanley; Damase, Jacques. Sonia Delaunay: The Life of an Artist. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995
  • Buckberrough, Sherry A. Robert Delaunay: The Discovery of Simultaneity. Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1978.
  • Chadwick, Whitney; de Courtivron, Isabelle. (ed) Significant Others: Creativity and Intimate partnership. London: Thames & Hudson, 1993.
  • Chip, Herschel B. "Orphism and Color Theory". The Art Bulletin, Vol. 40, No. 1, pp. 55–63, Mar 1958.
  • Damase, Jacque. Sonia Delaunay: Rhythms and Colours. Greenwich, Connecticut: New York Graphic Society Ltd, 1972.
  • Gale, Matthew. Dada and Surrealism. New York: Phaidon Press Inc., 2006
  • Hughes, Gordon "Envisioning Abstraction: The Simultaneity of Robert Delaunay's First Disk". The Art Bulletin, Vol. 89, No. 2, pp. 306–332, Jun 2007. The College Art Association.
  • MoMA. Orphism
  • Seidner, David. Sonia Delaunay. BOMB Magazine, 2/Winter, ART, 1982. https://web.archive.org/web/20090903142313/http://www.bombsite.com/issues/2/articles/60
  • Stangoes, Nikos (ed). Concepts of Modern Art: Fauvism to Post-Modernism. Chapter: "Orphism", Virginia Spate. (Revised) London: Thames & Hudson, 1981.

External links

Caoutchouc (Picabia)

Caoutchouc (in English Rubber) is a painting created circa 1909 by the French artist Francis Picabia. At the crossroads of Cubism and Fauvism, Caoutchouc is considered one of the first abstract works in Western painting. The painting is in the collection of Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne.

Danseuse (Csaky)

Danseuse, also known as Femme à l'éventail, or Femme à la cruche, is an early Cubist, Proto-Art Deco sculpture created in 1912 by the Hungarian avant-garde sculptor Joseph Csaky (1888–1971). This black and white photograph from the Csaky family archives shows a frontal view of the original 1912 plaster. Danseuse was exhibited in Paris at the 1912 Salon d'Automne (n. 405), an exhibition that provoked a succès de scandale and resulted in a xenophobic and anti-modernist quarrel in the French National Assembly. The sculpture was then exhibited at the 1914 Salon des Indépendants entitled Femme à l'éventail (n. 813); and at Galerie Moos, Geneva, 1920, entitled Femme à la cruche.

Groupe de femmes

Groupe de femmes, also called Groupe de trois femmes, or Groupe de trois personnages, is an early Cubist sculpture created circa 1911 by the Hungarian avant-garde, sculptor, and graphic artist Joseph Csaky (1888–1971). This sculpture formerly known from a black and white photograph (Galerie René Reichard) had been erroneously entitled Deux Femmes (Two Women), as the image captured on an angle showed only two figures. An additional photograph found in the Csaky family archives shows a frontal view of the work, revealing three figures rather than two. Csaky's sculpture was exhibited at the 1912 Salon d'Automne, and the 1913 Salon des Indépendants, Paris. A photograph taken of Salle XI in sitiu at the 1912 Salon d'Automne and published in L'Illustration, 12 October 1912, p. 47, shows Groupe de femmes exhibited alongside the works of Jean Metzinger, František Kupka, Francis Picabia, Amedeo Modigliani and Henri Le Fauconnier.

At the 1913 Salon des Indépendants Groupe de femmes was exhibited in the company works by Fernand Léger, Jean Metzinger, Robert Delaunay, André Lhote, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Jacques Villon and Wassily Kandinsky.The whereabouts of Groupe de femmes is unknown and the sculpture is presumed to have been destroyed.

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Organization of the Imperial Japanese Navy Alaskan Strike Group

Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria

Organization of the Kwantung Army of Japan

Organization of the Luftwaffe

Organization of the Third Reich

Orglandes German war cemetery

Orgues de Flandre

Original Shaftesbury Theatre

Origins of World War II (game)

Orita M1941

Orlando DiGirolamo

Orlando Executive Airport

Orlando Leopardi

Orlando Ward

Orly - Ouest (Orlyval)

Orly - Sud (Orlyval)

Orly Airport (Paris)


Orme G. Stuart

Ormsby-class attack transport

Oronce Finé

Oroville Municipal Airport

ORP Żbik

ORP Ślązak (L26)

ORP Błyskawica

ORP Burza

ORP Dzik (P52)

ORP General Haller

ORP Grom (1936)

ORP Gryf (1936)

ORP Jaskółka

ORP Jastrząb

ORP Krakowiak (L115)

ORP Kujawiak (L72)

ORP Mazur

ORP Orkan (G90)

ORP Orzeł

ORP Piorun (G65)


ORP Sęp (1938)

ORP Sokół (1940)

ORP Wicher (1928)

ORP Wilk (1929)

Orphism (art)

Orsa-class torpedo boat

Orsay – Ville (Paris RER)

Orson Leon Crandall

Ortrun Enderlein

Orval Faubus

Orval R. Cook

Orvar Trolle

Orville Emil Bloch

Orville Freeman

Oryoku Maru

Orzeł incident

OS2U Kingfisher

Osami Nagano

Oscar C. Badger II

Oscar De Cock

Oscar de Somville

Oscar F. Perdomo

Oscar G. Johnson

Oscar Grégoire

Oscar I of Sweden

Oscar J. Zuniga

Oscar M. Laurel

Oscar Shumsky

Oscar V. Peterson

Oscar van Rappard

Oscar Wilde

Oscarsborg Fortress

Oshima Ken'ichi

Oskar Brüsewitz

Oskar Dinort

Oskar Dirlewanger

Oskar Fried

Oskar Goßler

Oskar Körner

Oskar Kokoschka

Oskar Müller

Oskar Morgenstern

Oskar Rosenfeld

Oskar Schindler

Oskari Friman

Oslo report

Osman Kulenović

Osovets Offensive Operation

OSS Detachment 101



Ost battalion

Oster Conspiracy



Ostmark (Austria)

Ostrogozhsk-Rossosh Operation


Osvaldo Aranha

Osvaldo Ardiles

Oswald Birley

Oswald Boelcke

Oswald Mosley

Oswald Phipps, 4th Marquess of Normanby

Oswald Pohl

Oswald Teichmüller

Oszkár Gerde

Ota Šik

Otakar Batlička

Otakar Jaroš

Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer

Otokar Keršovani

Otomars Oškalns

Ōtori-class torpedo boat

Otozō Yamada


Otter Light Reconnaissance Car

Ottmar Walter

Otto Abetz

Otto Baum

Otto Bertram

Otto Bradfisch

Otto Carius

Otto Ciliax

Otto Dietrich

Otto Špaček

Otto Ernst Remer

Otto Fickeisen

Otto Frank

Otto Freundlich

Otto Georg Thierack

Otto Günsche

Otto Hellmuth

Otto Herschmann

Otto Hitzfeld

Otto Hofmann

Otto Hultberg

Otto John

Otto Königsberger

Otto Kerner, Jr.

Otto Kiep

Otto Kittel

Otto Klemperer

Otto Kretschmer

Otto Kumm

Otto L. Nelson, Jr.

Otto Lasch

Otto Meißner

Otto Müller (wrestler)

Otto Ohlendorf

Otto P. Weyland

Otto Passman

Otto Rahn

Otto Rasch

Otto Robert Frisch

Otto Ruge

Otto Schimek

Otto Schmirgal

Otto Schulz (admiral)

Otto Skorzeny

Otto Steinbrinck

Otto Strasser

Otto Telschow

Otto Tief

Otto Ville Kuusinen

Otto von Bülow

Otto von Knobelsdorff

Otto von Lossow

Otto von Porat

Otto von Stülpnagel

Otto Wöhler

Otto Wagener

Otto Wahle

Otto Weddigen

Otto Weidinger

Otto Wächter

Ou Zhen

Oumar Dieng

Oumar Sène

Oumar Tchomogo

Our Enemy- The Japanese

Our Job in Japan

Ourcq (Paris Métro)

Ours-Pierre-Armand Petit-Dufrénoy

Out Distance

Out of the Ashes (2003 film)

Outer London Defence Ring

Outpost Snipe

Ouvrage Ancien Camp

Ouvrage Anzeling

Ouvrage Arrondaz

Ouvrage Aumetz

Ouvrage Baisse de Saint Veran

Ouvrage Bambesch

Ouvrage Barbonnet

Ouvrage Berenbach

Ouvrage Bersillies

Ouvrage Billig

Ouvrage Bois du Four

Ouvrage Bois Karre

Ouvrage Bousse

Ouvrage Boussois

Ouvrage Bovenberg

Ouvrage Brehain

Ouvrage Cap Martin

Ouvrage Castillon

Ouvrage Cave à Canon

Ouvrage Champ de Tir

Ouvrage Chatelard

Ouvrage Col Agnon

Ouvrage Col de Brouis

Ouvrage Col de Buffere

Ouvrage Col de Crous

Ouvrage Col de Restefond

Ouvrage Col des Banquettes

Ouvrage Col des Gardes

Ouvrage Col du Caire Gros

Ouvrage Col du Fort

Ouvrage Col du Granon

Ouvrage Coucou

Ouvrage Coume Annexe Nord

Ouvrage Coume Annexe Sud

Ouvrage Coume

Ouvrage Denting

Ouvrage Einseling

Ouvrage Eth

Ouvrage Ferme Chappy

Ouvrage Fermont

Ouvrage Flaut

Ouvrage Fontvive Nord-ouest

Ouvrage Four a Chaux

Ouvrage Fressinen

Ouvrage Galgenberg

Ouvrage Gondran

Ouvrage Gordolon

Ouvrage Grand Hohekirkel

Ouvrage Granges Communes

Ouvrage Hackenberg

Ouvrage Haut-Poirier

Ouvrage Hobling

Ouvrage Hochwald

Ouvrage Immerhof

Ouvrage Janus

Ouvrage Kerfent

Ouvrage Kobenbusch

Ouvrage L'Agaisen

Ouvrage La Beole

Ouvrage La Dea

Ouvrage La Moutiere

Ouvrage La Serena

Ouvrage Latiremont

Ouvrage Laudrefang

Ouvrage Le Lavoir

Ouvrage Lembach

Ouvrage Les Aittes

Ouvrage Les Rochilles

Ouvrage Mauvais Bois

Ouvrage Metrich

Ouvrage Michelsberg

Ouvrage Molvange

Ouvrage Mont Agel

Ouvrage Mont des Welches

Ouvrage Monte Grosso

Ouvrage Mottemberg

Ouvrage Oberheid

Ouvrage Otterbiel

Ouvrage Pas du Roc

Ouvrage Plan Caval

Ouvrage Plate Lombard

Ouvrage Reservoir

Ouvrage Restefond

Ouvrage Rimplas

Ouvrage Roche Lacroix

Ouvrage Rochonvillers

Ouvrage Rohrbach

Ouvrage Roquebrunne

Ouvrage Saint Antoine

Ouvrage Saint Gobain

Ouvrage Saint Ours Bas

Ouvrage Saint Ours Haut

Ouvrage Saint Ours Nord-est

Ouvrage Saint Roch

Ouvrage Sainte Agnes

Ouvrage Salmagne

Ouvrage Sapey

Ouvrage Sarts

Ouvrage Schiesseck

Ouvrage Schoenenbourg

Ouvrage Sentzich

Ouvrage Simserhof

Ouvrage Soetrich

Ouvrage Teting

Ouvrage Valdeblore

Ouvrage Village Coume

Ouvrage Welschhof

Ouvry Lindfield Roberts

Ova A. Kelley

Over Here (TV serial)

Overloon War Museum

Overlord (1994 video game)

Oveta Culp Hobby

Ovitz family

OVP (firearm)

Owen Chamberlain

Owen J. Baggett

Owen submachine gun

Owen Tudor Boyd

Owen W. Siler

Ox Emerson

Oxmo Puccino

Oy Insinööritoimisto Ratas

Index of aesthetics articles

This is an alphabetical index of articles about aesthetics.

List of women in the Heritage Floor

This list documents all 998 mythical, historical and notable women whose names are displayed on the handmade white tiles of the Heritage Floor as part of Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party art installation (1979); there is also one man listed, Kresilas, who was mistakenly included in the installation as he was thought to have been a woman called Cresilla. The names appear as they are spelled on the floor. Since 2007 the installation has been on permanent exhibition in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York.

This is a sortable list. Click on the column headers to reorder.

Lyrical abstraction

Lyrical abstraction is either of two related but distinct trends in Post-war Modernist painting:

European Abstraction Lyrique born in Paris, the French art critic Jean José Marchand being credited with coining its name in 1947, considered as a component of (Tachisme) when the name of this movement was coined in 1951 by Pierre Guéguen and Charles Estienne the author of L'Art à Paris 1945–1966, and American Lyrical Abstraction a movement described by Larry Aldrich (the founder of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield Connecticut) in 1969.A third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s. Many well known abstract expressionist painters like Arshile Gorky seen in context have been characterized as doing a type of painting described as lyrical abstraction.


Orphism may refer to:

Orphism (art) (a school of art, also known as "Orphic cubism")

Orphism (religion) (a religious movement in antiquity, supposed to have been founded by Orpheus)


Poltava (Ukrainian: Полтава [pɔlˈtɑβɑ]; Russian: Полтава [pɐlˈtavə]) is a city located on the Vorskla River in central Ukraine. It is the capital city of the Poltava Oblast (province) and of the surrounding Poltava Raion (district) of the oblast. Poltava is administratively incorporated as a city of oblast significance and does not belong to the raion.

Robert Delaunay

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

Section d'Or

The Section d'Or ('Golden Section'), also known as Groupe de Puteaux (or Puteaux Group), was a collective of painters, sculptors, poets and critics associated with Cubism and Orphism. Based in the Parisian suburbs, the group held regular meetings at the home of the Duchamp brothers in Puteaux and at the studio of Albert Gleizes in Courbevoie. Active from 1911 to around 1914, members of the collective came to prominence in the wake of their controversial showing at the Salon des Indépendants in the spring of 1911. This showing by Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Robert Delaunay, Henri le Fauconnier, Fernand Léger and Marie Laurencin (at the request of Apollinaire), created a scandal that brought Cubism to the attention of the general public for the first time.

The Salon de la Section d'Or, held October 1912—the largest and most important public showing of Cubist works prior to World War I—exposed Cubism to a wider audience still. After the war, with support given by the dealer Léonce Rosenberg, Cubism returned to the front line of Parisian artistic activity. Various elements of the Groupe de Puteaux would mount two more large-scale Section d'Or exhibitions, in 1920 and in 1925, with the goal of revealing the complete process of transformation and renewal that had transpired since the onset of Cubism.

The group seems to have adopted the name "Section d'Or" as both an homage to the mathematical harmony associated with Georges Seurat, and to distinguish themselves from the narrower style of Cubism developed in parallel by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in the Montmartre quarter of Paris. In addition, the name was to highlight that Cubism, rather than being an isolated art-form, represented the continuation of a grand tradition: indeed, the golden ratio, or golden section (French: Section d'Or) had fascinated Western intellectuals of diverse interests for at least 2,400 years.

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay (November 14, 1885 – December 5, 1979) was a Ukrainian-born French artist, who spent most of her working life in Paris and, with her husband Robert Delaunay and others, cofounded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colors and geometric shapes. Her work extends to painting, textile design and stage set design. She was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964, and in 1975 was named an officer of the French Legion of Honor.

Her work in modern design included the concepts of geometric abstraction, the integration of furniture, fabrics, wall coverings, and clothing.

The Spring

The Spring (or La Source) is a large oil painting created in 1912 by the French artist Francis Picabia. The work, both Cubist and abstract, was exhibited in Paris at the Salon d'Automne of 1912. The Cubist contribution to the 1912 Salon d'Automne created a controversy in the Municipal Council of Paris, leading to a debate in the Chambre des Députés about the use of public funds to provide the venue for such 'barbaric' art. The Cubists were defended by the Socialist deputy, Marcel Sembat. This painting was realized as Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger, in preparation for the Salon de la Section d'Or, published a major defence of Cubism, resulting in the first theoretical essay on the new movement, Du «Cubisme». The painting forms part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

17th century
18th century
19th century
20th century
21st century
Related articles
Section d'Or
See also
Poetry collections

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