Robert Delaunay

L'Équipe de Cardiff [The Cardiff Team] (1922 - 1923)

About this artwork

In 1912 Delaunay began the first of several versions of 'The Cardiff Team'. The motif derived from a newspaper photograph of a Cardiff-Paris rugby match, which showed players jumping for the ball. Delaunay added Paris's famous Ferris wheel and an 'Astra' billboard, which advertises an aircraft construction company. The letters on the hoarding to the right derive from the artist's own name. The Eiffel Tower features in many of Delaunay's paintings, as the artist regarded it as the archetypal symbol of modernity. It is here seen emerging above the fragment of his name.

Robert Delaunay

Robert Delaunay

Delaunay was born in Paris into an aristocratic family. Largely self-taught, he was apprenticed to a firm of theatrical set builders from 1902 to 1904. Delaunay's early paintings were in an impressionist style, but in 1906 he began experimenting with the abstract qualities of colour. He was interested in the interaction of colour and movement, partly inspired by the work of Seurat. By 1910 Delaunay's work was showing the influence of cubism and, together with his wife Sonia, he became the leading practitioner of 'Simultanism', an offshoot of cubism and futurism. Delaunay was the first French artist to produce completely abstract pictures, at the end of 1912.