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Guillaume Apollinaire (1880—1918) French poet


Robert Delaunay (1885—1941) French painter

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Terms coined by Apollinaire to characterize a type of painting—a development from Cubism—practised by Robert Delaunay and some of his associates between 1911 and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The reference to Orpheus, the singer and poet of Greek mythology, reflected the desire of the artists involved to bring a new element of lyricism and colour into the austere intellectual Cubism of Picasso, Braque, and Gris. Apart from Delaunay, the artists whom Apollinaire mentioned as practitioners of Orphism were Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, and Francis Picabia (all members of the Section d'Or), but František Kupka, another member of their circle, was in fact closer in style to Delaunay than these three. By 1912 both Delaunay and Kupka were painting completely non-representational pictures characterized by intensely vibrant fragmented colours. Despite its short life, Orphism was highly influential, notably on several major German painters, particularly Klee (who visited Delaunay in 1912), Macke, and Marc. It was also closely related to Synchromism.

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