Robert Delaunay. La Tour (The Eiffel Tower). 1925

Robert Delaunay

La Tour (The Eiffel Tower)

1925

Medium
Lithograph
Dimensions
composition: 23 15/16 x 17 5/8" (60.8 x 44.8 cm); sheet: 25 5/8 x 19 11/16" (65.1 x 50 cm)
Publisher
unpublished
Printer
unknown
Edition
approximately 10
Credit
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund
Object number
236.1935
Department
Drawings and Prints
This work is not on view.
Robert Delaunay has 15 works  online.
There are 21,437 prints online.

The artist and theorist Robert Delaunay used the term "simultaneous contrast" in 1912 to describe the sensations of depth, motion, and harmony he achieved through color effects and a Cubist fragmentation of space. The poet Guillaume Apollinaire referred to the musicality implied in Delaunay's style when he deemed it "Orphic Cubism" or "Orphism," a reference to the Greek god Orpheus, who tamed beasts with his mythical lyre playing.

Between 1922 and 1928, Delaunay executed five lithographs based on earlier paintings. The prints, like the paintings, exemplify Delaunay's engagement with the dynamism of Paris, as embodied primarily in its architecture. Favoring monochromatic drawings and prints over the brilliant color for which he was best known, the artist relied instead on chiaroscuro effects in concert with rhythmically placed lines and patterns. Delaunay drew throughout his career with the liquid tusche and greasy black crayon commonly used for lithography, so the process of making prints was not a great departure for him. In all, he made approximately thirty-five lithographs, most of which were book illustrations. A Parisian publisher had planned to include The Eiffel Tower in a portfolio of lithographs by Delaunay, with a text by French novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans, but the project was never completed.

As the world's tallest monument at the time, the Eiffel Tower was for Delaunay a symbol of both modernity and masculinity, and he depicted it time and again. He was among the first artists to focus on this landmark as a subject, and it appears throughout his illustrated book Allo! Paris, with text by Joseph Delteil. Delaunay's more well-known, purely abstract imagery, comprising concentric, curved, and segmented bands, appears only rarely in his prints.

Publication excerpt from Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 70

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.