Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) retained a muted palette of brown and grey hues in his painting of "The Eiffel Tower" (1909/10). In this colour scheme and his artistic contemplation of multiple viewpoints of objects, the influence of the analytic Cubism of Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973) and Georges Braque (1882-1963) is visible. Delaunay's formal language resulted from the extension and acceleration of perception, the cognitive qualification of the real through multiple changes in perspective, which lead to a new unity in the image. The dizzying tower, buckled and fractured, yet majestically tall, takes up the entire height of the painting. Below, the steel construction straddles scenery-like rows of houses up to the vertical edges of the painting. Above, the tower thrusts through the cover of white-grey round cumulous clouds.

This work might seem like the anticipation of the demolition of this monument to modernity, and indeed, the removal of the Eiffel Tower was under discussion in 1909. However, Delaunay's painting is a dynamic agglomeration, meant to nobly embrace this symbol of the launch into a new technical era. Through the dynamic transformation of the painting's surface, especially through the use of colour, Delaunay arrived at his window paintings, which inspired French poet Guillaume Apollinaire to coin the term, "Orphism" for Delaunay's art. No longer working in a divisional mode like Severini, Delaunay became a singer of light, who concerned himself with the theoretical effects of socalled simultaneous contrasts. Practically, he transformed his motifs into a circling motion of glowing discs of colour, as in the small painting, "Crime of Passion (Political Drama)" (1914), which also belongs to the Kunsthalle collection.


  • Title: The Eiffel Tower
  • Creator: Robert Delaunay
  • Creator Lifespan: 1885 - 1941
  • Creator Nationality: French
  • Date Created: 1909/1910
  • Location Created: France
  • Physical Dimensions: 116 x 81 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Eiffel Tower, Tower, Paris, Seine, Gustave Eiffel, Engineer, Architecture, Urban, City, World's fair, Modernism, Avantgarde, Cityscape, Vedute, Cubism, Expressionism, Monument
  • Type: Painting
  • Publisher: Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe (State Art Gallery Karlsruhe)
  • External Link: The Eiffel Tower
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Art Genre: Vedute, Architecture
  • Art Movement: Modern Art, Modern Era, Cubism
  • Support: Canvas
  • Depicted Location: Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
  • Depicted Topic: Architecture, Cityscape

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