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Saint-Séverin

1909
Robert Delaunay, French, 1885 - 1941
Between the spring of 1909 and early 1910, Saint-Séverin, a small thirteenth-century Gothic church near Robert Delaunay's studio in Paris, inspired a series of seven paintings by the artist. In these works, he explored the interaction of light, color, and space in the cavernous church interior and its architecture of twisting columns and pointed arches to produce a kaleidoscopic sensation of shifting perspectives. Transforming the prismatic color he observed refracted through the church's stained-glass windows into images of forms dematerialized by light, Delaunay arrived at a language of visual fragmentation that was much more expressive than other variations of Cubism then taking hold among advanced artists in Paris....

Object Details
Society of Independent Artists, New York; sold to John Quinn (1870-1924), New York, April 17, 1917-until d. 1924 [1]; his estate, 1924-1927; his estate sale, American Art Association, New York, February 11-12, 1927, no. 253; purchased by J. B. Neumann (dealer), New York, until at least 1935 [2]; with Howard Putzel Gallery, Los Angeles [3]; sold to Louise Arensberg (1879-1953) and Walter C. Arensberg (1878-1954), Los Angeles, c. 1936-1938 [4].1. John Quinn Collection, 1926, illus. p. 43; Judith Zilczer, "The Noble Buyer", 1978, p. 154.2. See exhibition catalogue, Museum of Modern Art, "Painting in Paris, from American Collections," 1930, as collection of J. B. Neumann. The painting was also lent by Neumann for exhibition at the PMA in 1935 (see label removed, in curatorial object file, and letter from Henry Clifford to Neumann, April 23, 1935, in curatorial file).3. See letter from J. B. Neumann to Walter Arensberg dated Dec. 3, 1951, stating that Arensberg purchased the painting through Putzel; Neumann does not give the date of sale (PMA, Arensberg Archives).4. Putzel opened his gallery in Hollywood in August 1936, and closed it in July 1938.

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