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

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

  • Not on view

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.
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
51 1/4 x 6' 5" (130.2 x 195.6 cm)
Credit
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. M. Burden
Object number
339.1985
Department
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.

1912 - 1941, Robert Delaunay, Paris.
1941 - 1951, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Paris, inherited from her husband Robert Delaunay.
1951 - 1953, Galerie Bing, Paris, acquired from Sonia Delaunay-Terk,
1953(?) - 1984, William A.M. Burden, New York, probably purchased from Galerie Bing.
1985, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired as gift from the estate of William A.M. Burden (Margaret Livingston Partridge Burden).

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