Le gitan (The Gypsy)

Robert Delaunay

Paris, France, 1885 - Montpellier, France, 1941

Robert Delaunay was deeply involved in developing Cubism in France with a personal style named Simultanism that would run into abstraction around 1912. During the First World War he moved between Spain and Portugal with his wife, the artist Sonia Terk-Delaunay, and together they singularly worked in avant-garde circles in Madrid and Barcelona, in particular with the Ultraist group, Ramón Gómez de la Serna and Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company.

During his time on the Iberian Peninsula, Delaunay experimented with a return to figuration, yet without losing sight of the vibrant colouring and abstract forms of his previous work. With a starting point around visits to the Museo del Prado, he produced a series of paintings based on works from the Madrid gallery, among them Le gitan (The Gypsy), inspired by El Greco’s Saint Sebastian. In this piece, Delaunay deconstructs the figure of the model into a Cubist idiom, placing it before an abstract background with geometric forms characteristic of Orphism.

Raúl Martínez Arranz