The Delaunay Circle

03 nov 2015

This exhibition, which opens to the public on November 20th, explores the creative context surrounding Robert and Sonia Delaunay during the couple’s brief exile in Vila do Conde one century ago, between May 1915 and January 1917.

Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso and Eduardo Viana, who were already part of the circle of contacts and friends of the Delaunays in Paris, were active members in this group, which also extended to José Pacheco and the young Almada Negreiros, at the time aged 22. Another important figure is that of the America painter Samuel Halpert who Robert Delaunay had met in Brittany and who visited them in Portugal. During this period, characterised by their intense labours and a great deal of creative dynamism, the Delaunay couple experimented with painting in wax, mixed while molten with pigments, which contributed a greater vibrancy to the simultaneous contrasts (“Orphic painting” as it became known). Amadeo, Eduardo Viana and Samuel Halpert also adopted this technique and correspondingly obtained more saturated and textured layers of colours.

The exhibition features many of the works produced in Portugal in these years and highlighting the collective projects that they called La Corporation Nouvelle (New Corporation) and to which Amadeo, Viana and Almada all contributed and also alongside Blaise Cendrars, Guillaume Apollinaire and the Russian painter Daniel Rossiné (or Vladimir Baranov-Rossiné). This idea emerged from, in the words of Robert Delaunay, “the need for mutual help in the arts that are more than ever in danger, more than never a universal reality” and foresaw exhibitions touring from north to south and from east to west and along with the production of albums sold by subscription to accompany these same exhibitions in actions organised in unity between artists.

In conjunction with this exhibition, there is the publication of a catalogue with texts studying this theme and focusing especially on the relationships between the works of Sonia and Robert Delaunay and Amadeo and the futurist Italian dealer living in Stockholm Arturo Ciacelli, responsible for staging in the Swedish capital in 1916 the only exhibition that may be attributed to the Corporation Nouvelle scope of production. This publication also highlights the commissioning of Sonia Delaunay for a mural painting produced in tiles then applied to the façade of a building in Valença do Minho, the influence of simultaneous painting, developed by Robert and Sonia Delaunay, on the literary and visual poetics of Almada Negreiros and as well as the close relationship between Eduardo Viana and the Delaunays. ■

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