Inspired by 19th century theories about the perception and psychology of color, French artist Robert Delaunay created his own art movement, called Simultanéisme. Simultaneity, in Delauney’s view, meant that color could take a form of its own, affecting the spatial dimension of a composition and the perception of movement within it. One of his biggest admirers, Guillaume Apollinaire, gave the movement the more poetic name of Orphism – from Orpheus, the Greek god of music.
Greatly influenced by Neo-Impresisonism, Cubism and Futurism in the first part of his career, by the 1930s the artist’s work became completely abstract and devoted to color as its main subject. Rhythm, Joy of Life (Rhythme, Joie de Vivre) is an abstract artwork that uses bold colors to reflect the joy of living, the exhuberance and harmony that Delaunay experienced while painting.
It’s a balanced composition filled with warm colors (orange, yellow, red) with contrast and motion being added by the use of blues, greens and black and by the diagonal and vertical lines intersecting the circles. We’re witnessing a galaxy of rhythms and colors.The disks are a motif that the French artist used extensively throughout his career – particularly later in his life – a trademark that makes his works easily recognizable today.