Art Term


Orphism was an abstract, cubist influenced painting style developed by Robert and Sonia Delaunay around 1912

Robert Delaunay, ‘Endless Rhythm’ 1934
Robert Delaunay
Endless Rhythm 1934

In the Delaunays’ work patches of subtle and beautiful colour are brought together to create harmonious compositions.

The term, sometimes called orphic cubism, was coined around 1912–13 by the French poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire and used to distinguish their work from cubism generally. The name comes from the legendary ancient Greek poet and musician Orpheus. Its use by Apollinaire relates to the idea that painting should be like music, which was an important element in the development of abstract art. Robert Delaunay himself used the term simultanism to describe his work.

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Who is Sonia Delaunay?

Who is Sonia Delaunay? Tate looks at the main points concerning the artist and her work.
Tate Etc

'We will go right up to the sun': The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay

Juliet Bingham

An important figure in the Parisian avant-garde, Sonia Delaunay (1885–1979) brought extraordinary inventiveness to a range of works, which ...

Tate Etc

The multi-talented Delaunay: Sonia Delaunay: The Fortune of Colour

Sheila Hicks

During her long and fruitful life Sonia Delaunay (1885–1979) became a key figure within Parisian avant-garde circles as well ...

Tate Etc

Pure explosions of finesse: Sonia Delaunay: The Fortune of Colour

Duro Olowu

In our second series of articles on Sonia Delaunay, Tate Etc. asked a fashion designer to talk about his long ...

selected artists in the collection

orphism at tate

Tate Modern Exhibition

The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay

15 Apr – 9 Aug 2015
This is the first UK retrospective to assess the breadth of Sonia Delaunay's vibrant artistic practice across a wide ...
Tate Liverpool Exhibition

Chagall: Modern Master

8 Jun – 6 Oct 2013
Chagall: Modern Master exhibition at Tate Liverpool 8 June – 6 October 2013 brings together paintings and works on paper from ...