Robert Delaunay. The Three Windows, the Tower and the Wheel. 1912

Robert Delaunay

The Three Windows, the Tower and the Wheel


Oil on canvas
51 1/4 x 6' 5" (130.2 x 195.6 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. M. Burden
Object number
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Robert Delaunay has 15 works online.
There are 2,308 paintings online.

In his Windows series, a group of twenty-two paintings made between April and December of 1912, Delaunay rejected painting's traditional function as a window onto an imaginary world. Instead he turned to the pictorial surface as a place where the process of seeing itself could be recorded. "Without visual perception there is no light, no movement," Delaunay wrote in the summer of 1912. "This movement is provided by relationships of uneven measures, by color contrasts, which constitute Reality." Light and its structuring of vision, the simultaneous contrasts of colors and their steady rhythmic motion, became the subjects of Delaunay’s Windows, setting the stage for his move into abstraction. "The Windows," he wrote, "truly began my life as an artist."

Gallery label from Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, December 23, 2012–April 15, 2013

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist, Paris
Sonia Delaunay. Until 1951
Galerie Bing, Paris. 1951–1953. Acquired from above
William A.M. Burden. Purchased from Bing, October 1953 - 1985
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A.M. Burden, 1985

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