This canvas is the second in a series of seven executed by Delaunay depicting the 15th- century ambulatory of this Gothic church near his Paris studio. While the viewpoint in each is identical, the columns bend, bow, expand, or dissolve in successive stages of the series. Aspects of Cubism are present but nominal, as Delaunay’s reliance on the reaction of colors to convey the line sets it apart from the practices of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.
In 1911, Delaunay was invited by Vassily Kandinsky to participate in the first exhibition of the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group in Munich, held from December 1910 – January 1912 at the Moderne Galerie Thannhauser. Delaunay sent five works, including Saint-Séverin #1, which established his reputation in Germany. In fact, by 1916, German critics referred to the French artist as “the first known Expressionist.”