Sonia Delaunay, Prismes électriques (Electric Prisms), 1914, oil on canvas, 98.4” x 98.4”, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Public Domain via Google Images.
What is Orphism?
Pioneered by the couple Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Orphism was an art movement in Paris that was influenced both by Cubism and color theory. These artists used abstract form and color alone to indicate the subject and sensations. Borrowing from scientific color theory, they would juxtapose complementary colors in their work to convey tension and movement.
Sonia Delaunay’sPrismes électriques (Electric Prisms) was inspired when the artist was walking down Boulevard Saint-Michel in Paris and first saw the newly installed electric street lights. In the painting, she captured the circular glow of the lights at the top of the canvas and the mosaic of geometric forms below that were created by the fractured colored light cast on the sidewalk.