Robert Delaunay, letter to August Macke, 1912

"... reality is endowed with Vastness (we see as far as the stars), and it then becomes Rhythmic Simultaneity.

Simultaneity in light is harmony..."

Robert Delaunay


Simultaneaous Contrasts : Sun and Moon,

Abstraction, (between 1912 and 1913)

At "The Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery" of the

The Museum of Modern Art


Robert Delaunay, letter to August Macke, 1912


Direct observation of the luminous essence of nature is for me indispensable. I do not necessarily mean observation with palette in hand, although I am not opposed to notations taken from nature itself. I do much of my work from nature, "before the subject," as it is commonly called. But what is of great importance to me is observation of the movement of colors.

Only in this way have I found the laws of complementary and simultaneous contrasts of colors which sustain the very rhythm of my vision. In this movement of colors I find the essence, which does not arise from a system, or an a priori theory.

For me, every man distinguishes himself by his essence his personal movement, as opposed to that which is universal. That is what I found in your works that I saw this winter at Cologne. You are not in direct communication with nature, the only source of inspiration directed toward beauty.' Such communication affects representation in its most vital and critical aspect. This communication alone, by the comparison of the antagonisms, rivalries, movements which give birth to decisive moments, permits the evolution of the soul, whereby a man realizes himself on earth. It is impossible to be concerned with anything else in art.

I say it is indispensable to look ahead of and behind oneself in the present. If there is such a thing as tradition, and I believe there is, it can only exist in the sense of the most profound movements of culture.

First of all, I always see the sun! The way I want to identify myself and others is with halos here and there halos, movements of color. And that, I believe, is rhythm. Seeing is in itself a movement. Vision is the true creative rhythm. Discerning the quality of rhythms is a movement, and the essential quality of painting is representation the movement of vision which functions in objectivizing itself toward reality. That is the essential of art, and its greatest profoundness.

I am very much afraid of definitions, and yet one is almost forced to make them. One must take care, too, not to be inhibited by them. I have a horror of manifestoes made before the work is done.

Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)

Robert Delaunay, letter to August Macke, 1912




Robert Delaunay. (French, 1885-1941).

Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon.

Paris 1913 (dated on painting 1912).

Oil on canvas, 53" (134.5 cm) in diameter.

The Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art's

On view at MoMA