French painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) was a truly dynamic artist from the twentieth century. His art style kept shifting between the triangular creative zone formed of ‘Orphism,’ ‘Abstraction,’ and ‘Cubism.’ Robert’s ‘The Eiffel Tower Series’ consisted of the most powerful works of his life. The Tower, the very icon of urbanization, always fascinated Delaunay. Being a radio tower, the Tower represented boundless communication and its unique construction was symbolic of the evolving machine age. Robert created around 30 works (sketches, window paintings, and oil paintings) using Eiffel Tower as the subject, during his self-termed ‘destructive phase.’ All these paintings depict the tower surrounded by tall buildings, from different angles and viewpoints. Three oil paintings from the ‘Eiffel Tower Series,’ created between 1909 and 1912, are considered Delaunay’s true art masterpieces.
The three famous oil paintings from Robert’s Tower Series were:
o Tower with Trees (49 ¾” x 36 ½” canvas)
o Tower (Tour Eiffel) – Measuring 79 ½” x 54 1/2″ canvas, this painting shows the tower emerging from the drape of skyscrapers around.
o The Red Tower (63 ¼” x 50 5/8″ canvas)
The ‘Eiffel Tower Series’ by Robert Delaunay epitomizes ‘Modernism.’ All the paintings are dramatic portrayals, pulsating with energy and present an elusive visual. A vibrant flow of vivid colors, form a pool of interesting abstracts. All three paintings present an angular view of the Tower. Robert has used a bright but narrow color palette, such as red, orange, brown, gray, white, black, and the shades of blue, in his ‘Tower Series.’ His innovative approach in the series was free from all the then set creative norms, ‘Impressionist’ landscapes to be precise.
Delaunay adapted a distinctive style, which appears ‘Cubist’ in nature with a touch of ‘Fauvism’ (due to the use of vibrant color). He invented the non- imitative form of art, where color, instead of an object-inspired form, plays a key role in the painting. The fragmented layers of color form the fascinating patterns of fractured spaces, left to be perceived by the viewers mind. The genius of these very futuristic illustrations tends to provoke the inner physic and elevate one to a different level of self-awareness.
Robert Delaunay’s unique conceptualization in ‘The Eiffel Tower Series,’ established his name as a pioneer in ‘Abstract Art.’ Clement Greenburg once said about Robert Delaunay, “He was an enterprising painter whose influence to the art world was much greater than his art.” The paintings “Eiffel Tower with Trees” and “Eiffel Tower” currently rest at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, while “The Red Tower” is at the Arts Institute of Chicago.