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Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) was a French artist who used orphism, similar to abstraction and cubism in his work. Delaunay concentrated on orphism, while his later works were more abstract, reminiscent of Paul Klee. His key influence related to bold use of colour, and a clear love of experimentation of both depth and tone. While he was a child, Delaunay's parents divorced, and he was raised by his uncle, in La RonchĂ¨re (near Bourges). He took up painting at an early age and, by 1903, he was producing mature imagery in a confident, impressionistic style.
In 1908, after a term in the military working as a regimental librarian, he met Sonia Terk, whom he later married, though at the time she was married to a German art dealer whom she would soon divorce. In 1909, Delaunay began to paint a series of studies of the city of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. The following year, he married Terk, and the couple settled in a studio apartment in Paris, where they later had a son. At the invitation of Wassily Kandinsky, Delaunay joined The Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter), a Munich-based group of abstract artists, in 1911, and his art took a turn for the abstract.
The outbreak of World War I found Delaunay and his wife vacationing in Spain, and they settled with friends in Portugal for the duration of the conflict. During this period, the couple took on several jobs designing costumes for the Madrid Opera, and Sonia Delaunay started a fashion design business. After the war, in 1921, they returned to Paris. Delaunay continued to work in a mostly abstract style. During the 1937 World Fair in Paris, Delaunay participated in the design of the railway and air travel pavilions. When World War II erupted, the Delaunays moved to the Auvergne, in an effort to avoid the invading German forces. Suffering from cancer, Delaunay was unable to endure being moved around, and his health deteriorated. He died from cancer on October 25, 1941 in Montpellier.
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