November 29, 2014

"Beauty is Power" @ The Jewish Museum

Walk into any department store cosmetic department today and one is immediately accosted by a swarm of vendors spritzing perfume or offering free makeovers.  But "back in the day" the world of beauty and cosmetics was ruled by three main purveyors - Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder and Helena Rubinstein - women who founded and ran enormously successful enterprises based on face creams and eye shadows and whose names remain inscribed in the annals of business and beauty to this day.

The biographies of these prescient entrepreneurs all speak of determined, savvy women who provided their customers with a means to improve their natural looks to express their femininity, individuality and confidence.  But of this trio of tycoons, it was arguably Helena Rubinstein who left behind the greatest legacy as a self-made woman magnate and an icon of art, fashion and philanthropy.

Chaja Rubinstein was born to a Jewish shopkeeper and his wife in Krakow, Poland, the eldest of eight daughters.  When her family emigrated to Australia in 1902, the local women were fascinated with Chaja, now Helena, and her beautiful skin.  A merchant by nature, she started by selling the jars of beauty cream she had in her luggage, and when that supply ran out she began to make her own using lanolin from the abundant sheep in the region.  It was the start of her empire.  After a few years she had amassed $100,000 in seed money - enough to leave one of her sisters in charge of the Australian operation while Helena herself relocated to London.

At a time when painted faces were for prostitutes and actresses, the beauty salons of Helena Rubinstein & Co. provided a sophisticated, intimate environment where middle and upper class women could be comfortable exploring how make-up could enhance their appearances.  Madame, as she liked to be called, saw cosmetics as a means of independence and self-expression, a way for women to achieve their own vision of who they were.  She empowered women.

With the outbreak of World War I, Helena Rubinstein, her husband the journalist Edward Titus, and their two sons, moved to New York where her enterprise continued to grow.  By the 1920s she was a very wealthy woman with a world-wide enterprise and a significant collection of avant-garde art.  And now we come to the topic of this blog - the special exhibition "Helena Rubinstein:  Beauty is Power" now on view at The Jewish Museum.

Helena Rubinstein was obviously a trail blazer as a woman entrepreneur in the early 20th century.  But her singularity in the worlds of art, fashion and design set her even further apart from her peers.  She was an early patron and collector of works by European and Latin American artists such as Elie Nadelman, Frida Kahlo, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Leonor Fini and Henri Matisse, to name just a few.  She sported a marvelous collection of jewelry and fashions by such designers as Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli and Cristóbal Balenciaga and her portrait was captured by masters from Paul Helleu (above left) to Marie Laurencin to Andy Warhol.

Her numerous residences, including a triplex on Park Avenue (when she was initially rejected as a tenant because of her Jewish faith she bought the building), and townhouse on the Île Saint Louis in Paris, were each decorated in a lavish and personal style that showcased her extensive collections of art and furniture.  But at the end of the day, it is without a doubt her exceptional collection of African and Oceanic Art that set her apart from the regular collectors of her era.  Helena Rubinstein recognized, long before most people had even accepted Cubism, the cultural and artistic value of sculptures by the indigenous people of Africa and the Pacific Islands.  She acquired and displayed extraordinary examples of masks and figures by primitive peoples alongside more recognizable Western art and was decades ahead of her time in her appreciation of the power of these deceptively simple pieces.

By the time World War II had consumed the world, Helena Rubinstein had, through a new marriage to a much younger man, upgraded her identity to include the title of Princess.  Now known as Helena Princess Gourielli she had a thriving business enterprise, amassed a sizable real estate empire and had established several medical and cultural philanthropic foundations that bore her name.  By the time she died in 1965, Helena Rubinstein's slogan of "Beauty is Power" had come to illustrate her own remarkable life.  By taking nature's gifts and capitalizing on them, and spreading that possibility among millions of women world-wide, Madame had succeeded beyond her wildest dreams.

November 23, 2014

"Egon Schiele: Portraits"

Located on Fifth Avenue at 86th Street on Manhattan's Museum Mile is the elegant Neue Galerie, a private museum dedicated to showcasing German and Austrian art and design of the early twentieth century.  With an unrivaled permanent collection of masterpieces of fine art by Gustav Klimt, Alfred Kubin and Oskar Kokoschka and decorative arts by Dagobert Peche, Josef Hoffman and Koloman Moser, among others, the museum also mounts important temporary exhibitions in its third floor galleries.

Now on view is a very special show focusing exclusively on the portraiture of the Austrian Expressionist painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918).  Under the curatorship of noted Schiele scholar Dr. Alessandra Comini, 125 drawings, watercolors and paintings have been assembled from major public and private collections, all on the theme of portraits.  These are divided into six sub-sections including "Family and Academy", "Fellow Artists", "Sitters and Patrons", "Lovers", "Eros" and "Self-Portraits and Allegorical Self-Portraits" that trace the evolution of Schiele's artistic style.

Schiele's life and career was short but dramatic.  Considered a strange child he was also thought to have had inappropriate feelings toward his younger sister.  At the age of 15 he lost his father to syphilis and Egon went to live with his uncle who reluctantly allowed him to pursue his love of drawing with formal lessons.  Schiele's works from this time are very traditional and academic (see left, "Selbstporträt", 1906), a far cry from the style for which he would eventually become famous!

By 1907 he had met and come under the influence of Gustav Klimt and other members of the Wiener Werkstätte and he began to incorporate the angular, almost distorted and disturbing aspects that came to typify his work.  His portraits were studies in pathos - souls exposed for all the world to see - often suspended in space.  Whether naked or clothed, his sitters were captured in a frank gaze that seemed to expose their innermost, most private, thoughts.

"Portrait of the Artist Karl Zakovsek", 1910

Schiele did not spare himself with these portraits.  Working in front of a mirror he vividly captured his every emotion from agony to ecstasy, as he posed in contorted positions while masturbating or simply staring at the viewer (see "Self-Portrait With Arm Twisted Above Head", 1910, right).  Schiele's sexual appetite got him into serious trouble in 1912 when he was arrested on charges of kidnapping, rape and public immorality involving an underage girl in a town outside of Vienna.  While he was ultimately convicted only on the immorality charge - stemming from the hundred plus drawings of naked women in erotic poses found in his apartment - he used his time in prison to record his surroundings and practice sketching self-portraits without the aid of a mirror.

After his release from jail Schiele's work took on a darker, more melancholy side.  He began to paint young urchins from the street and army officers and prisoners of war during World War I.  He also began to portray himself as an allegorical figure - as a monk, a hermit, or a saint - perhaps to convey his feelings of isolation during his incarceration, or his rebirth after being set free.

It should come as no surprise that Egon Schiele had quite an active love life which he depicted in full graphic detail in drawings and watercolors.  Despite this seemingly insatiable appetite for sex, Schiele had only two main women in his life, Wally (Walpurga Neuzil) his first great love and the subject of many paintings and drawings, and Edith Harms whom he met in 1914 and married one year later.  Although this was a union conceived for his own advantage, and he was shocked when Wally did not stick around to continue an affair, he did finally love his wife and behaved as a proper husband.

"Portrait of the Artist's Wife, Standing
(Edith Schiele in a Striped Dress)", 1915

Edith fell victim to the Spanish Influenza epidemic that swept Europe toward the end of the Great War.  She was six months pregnant when she died.  Egon Schiele also succumbed three days later but not before completing a few last sketches of his wife.  By the age of 28 he had lived a meteoric life which has gone on post-humously to achieve success beyond even his wildest imagination.  "Egon Schiele: Portraits" is on view at the Neue Galerie until January 19, 2015.

November 17, 2014

The Amazing Jewels of Mrs. Bunny Mellon

Back in New York the auction season is in full swing with records being set almost daily.  One of the major events of the year is Sotheby's dispersal of the Estate of Mrs. Paul Mellon who died in March 2014 at the age of 103.

Mrs. Mellon, generally known as "Bunny", was one of the last of a generation of very wealthy, very genteel, society ladies.  Born Rachel Lowe Lambert in Princeton, NJ, she was the grand daughter of the inventor of Listerine and the daughter of the president of the Gillette Safety Razor Company and founder of the pharmaceutical concern Warner Lambert.  As the saying goes, money begets money, and in 1948 she became the second wife of banking heir, art collector and horse breeder Paul Mellon.

Paul and Bunny Mellon lived a charmed life with homes in New York, Cape Cod, Paris, Antigua and a massive horse farm in Upperville, Virginia.  The couple mingled with the cream of American and international society and amassed a remarkable collection of art and antiques, much of which was donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  Although never formally trained, Mrs. Mellon was a renowned horticulturalist and designed gardens for her own properties and for close friends like Jacqueline Kennedy and Hubert de Givenchy.

Paul Mellon died in 1999 and now with the passing of his widow the contents of the townhouse in New York, the beach residence in Antigua and the 4,000 acre Oak Spring Farms in Virginia will go on the auction block.  Sotheby's New York has already sold the masterworks of the art collection, including the two magnificent Rothkos that fetched over $75 million, but the bulk of the estate will go under the hammer next week.  Beside the usual potpourri of furniture, china, books, decorations, silver, linens and other household items befitting a person of her social stature, is Mrs Mellon's extraordinary collection of jewels and that is what I would like to focus on here.

The catalogue for this section of the sale is the thickness of a telephone book (remember those?!) and offers 267 lots of jewelry and objects of vertu including gold compacts, cigarette cases, snuff boxes and designer handbags with monogrammed clasps in gold and semi-precious stones.  The sale will be offered in two parts beginning with an evening session on November 20, 2014.  Here are some of the highlights:

Lot # 8 is a 14K gold, platinum, diamond and ruby brooch in the form of an espalier apple tree like the ones Mrs. Mellon had growing in her garden.  It was made by Verdura circa 1950 and features leaves set in diamonds and 26 ruby bead apples.  This charming but diminutive piece has the seemingly reasonable estimate of $2,500-$3,500.

One of the more whimsical items is Lot # 27, an 18K gold, rock crystal and enamel charm bracelet.   Made in France circa 1935, the linked bracelet features six charms on the theme of cocktails.  With a martini glass, an ice cube, a bottle of gin, a bottle of vermouth, a lemon twist and a shaker that opens to reveal a devil, it has all the ingredients to exceed its $10,000-$15,000 estimate!

Lot # 36 is an exquisite gold and diamond "Rivière" necklace by Cartier.  The 29 old-European cut diamonds are graduated in size and held together with a round fancy deep yellow 4.2 carat diamond as the clasp.  It was made in 1948 and features 111 carats of white diamonds.  This important piece has an equally important estimate of $1.25-$1.5 million.

The most expensive lot in the sale is this "Magnificent and rare" fancy vivid blue diamond pendant.  Mounted in platinum, this pear shaped, internally flawless diamond weighs 9.75 carats.  Lot # 37 is truly in the "if you have to ask..." category with an estimate of $10-$15 million.

For the well-dressed table, this gold, enamel and gem-set ornament of a nearly life-sized pomegranate should be just the ticket.  Made by Verdura, the brightly colored enamel skin is offset with numerous ruby, pink tourmaline and citrine seeds with the stem and leaf set with garnets and colored diamonds.  Lot # 39 carries an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

This little gold box continues the nature theme of Mrs. Mellon's collection.  Lot # 42 is an 18K tri-colored gold box decorated with overlapping oak leaves.  One colored diamond encrusted leaf decorates the lid while the interior holds a single white diamond set leaf.  It is another custom piece by Verdura and is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.

I'm going to leave you with one final bauble from Bunny Mellon's jewelry box.  This charming white gold and diamond set brooch is a sweet little rabbit with a ruby eye and a ruby and emerald carrot in his garden.  Lot # 128 seems like a bargain at $1,000-$2,000 but who knows what the power of its late, famous owner will have on the hammer price.  The sale of Mrs. Paul Mellon's extensive Estate wraps up on November 23rd.

November 16, 2014

"Paul Durand-Ruel: The Impressionist Gamble"

While museum goers on both sides of the Atlantic are quite familiar with the work of Renoir, Monet, Pissarro and Manet, very few are aware of the man who put them on the map - the person who encouraged them, supported them, promoted them and believed in them - the gallerist Paul Durand-Ruel.

Monsieur Durand-Ruel (1831-1922) was a Victorian conundrum.  Conservative in matters of family and religion - he was a father of five, a devout Catholic and a Monarchist - Durand-Ruel was at the same time a fierce promoter of radical new art movement called Impressionism.  He came by his art dealing honestly as his father had established a very successful gallery devoted to landscape painters of the Barbizon School (including Millet, Rousseau and Daubigny) which Paul took over in the mid 1860s.  His first move was to relocate to rue Lafitte, then the heart of the art dealing district, and he continued to transform the gallery with newfangled business ideas and avant garde artists.

Tame as Impressionism seems today, to the 19th century collector it was extreme.  No longer were faces, landscapes and objects painted in a realistic and identifiable manner, now viewers were expected to use their powers of interpretation to discern an "impression" of a smile, a flower or a sunrise.  Liberated by paint available in tubes, artists were able to expand their work places beyond the studio and into the out of doors where light and motion became elements to be incorporated into the scene.  Practitioners of this new way of painting were revolutionary in the eyes of traditionalists and met with much resistance from both critics and their peers.

Paul Durand-Ruel embraced this new view of the world.  In fact he did much more, he supported it with every resource at his disposal and can be credited without hesitation as the single most important contributor to the overwhelming and lasting success of Impressionism.  Ironically, despite his global presence and singular importance, he remains very much in the shadows but a new exhibition in Paris at the Musée du Luxembourg should bring him the recognition he deserves.

"Paul Durand-Ruel:  The Impressionist Gamble - Manet, Monet, Renoir..." takes a look at the man and the gallery that bears his name and the profound impact they had on the art world as we know it today.  Paul Durand-Ruel was introduced to Monet and Pissarro during the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune in London and was immediately entranced by their aesthetic.  He later met and took an interest in Sisley, Degas, Morisot, Renoir and Manet, putting his money where his mouth was in each instance.  Durand-Ruel was the first art dealer to actively purchase and promote the work of "his" artists developing the business strategies of exclusivity, stock building and one-man shows.  In addition to the Paris headquarters, he opened branch galleries in London and New York, and organized traveling exhibitions that toured around the world.

Claude Monet "Haystacks", 1891

The installation at the Musée du Luxembourg seeks to recreate Durand-Ruel's personal art mecca, his apartment at 35 rue du Rome in Paris, and offers some examples of iconic works he owned or dealt to private collections and museums.  The exhibition presents a greatest hits of Impressionist art with masterpieces by some of the movement's most famous contributors.

Of course, art cannot be created without artists, but Impressionism owes a huge debt of gratitude to the tireless support of this unsung hero, a man ahead of his time, and a fairy godfather to some of the most recognizable artists we worship today.

I leave you with a photo I took early one morning as I was crossing the Pont Royal.  The weather was mild but the clouds were dramatic, almost ominous, as the lonely barge made its way west along the Seine.  Soon the sun would be fully up and the daily hustle and bustle would begin, but this quiet moment was a nice start to the day.

"Marcel Duchamp. La Peinture, même"

Marcel Duchamp is considered by many to be THE most influential artist of the twentieth century while at the same time he is regarded as the revolutionary who killed painting.  How can one man wear both of these hats?  A new exhibition at the Centre Pompidou attempts to put Duchamp, his career and its consequences, into a new perspective.

On my recent trip to Paris, I had the very good fortune to be able to visit the exhibition "Marcel Duchamp.  La Peinture, même [Painting, even]" on a Tuesday morning when the museum is closed to the public.  Unimpeded by the crowds flocking to see this show, I could take my time and really enjoy the artistic journey from Duchamp's earliest experiments to his ultimate creation "The Large Glass".

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) came from a family of artists.  In fact, two of his brothers and his sister were accomplished artists, and while they worked together and independently throughout their careers, Marcel was by far the most daring and successful of them all.  An avid reader, mathematician, draughtsman, chess player and above all, thinker, Marcel Duchamp sought to challenge traditional ideas of "retinal art", art that appealed to the eye.

Yet despite his apparent disdain for traditional pictures, Duchamp was first and foremost a painter.  Drawing on his early experiences with caricatures, most of the erotic variety, Duchamp began to experiment with the ideas of "looking" - looking through, looking at, voyeurism, deconstructing the image - and the relationship of text and image.  His exposure to works by the Old Masters, Impressionists, Symbolists and Fauves are all reflected in his early paintings which led, rather naturally when one sees the progression, to his Cubist masterpiece exhibited at the Armory Show of 1913 "Nude Descending a Staircase". 
Marcel Duchamp
"A Propos de jeune sœur", 1911

Marcel Duchamp
"Nu descendant un escalier nº 2", 1912

Perhaps because of the less than enthusiastic reception of "Nude Descending a Staircase" at the 1911 Salon des Indépendants (although the reaction was more positive in New York), Duchamp all but abandoned painting and turned his focus to "Ready-mades" an invention that became his most famous contribution to Modern Art.  "Ready-mades" were basically off-the-shelf or minimally altered items, such as a snow shovel or a bottle rack, that were designated "works of art" by Duchamp.  The most famous of these is "Fountain" a white porcelain urinal, set on its back, signed "Mutt" and dated "1917", that was his contribution to that year's Salon des Indépendants.  It was a gesture applauded by he Dadaists but rejected by the Salon and has become one of the most iconic "statues" of the 20th Century.  Unfortunately "Fountain" was not included in this exhibition but there were other examples of Duchamp's "Ready-mades" some made in Paris and some from the time he spent in New York City and Ridgefield, NJ, during World War I.

"Marcel Duchamp.  Painting, Even", was not intended to be a retrospective of this important artist's œuvre and might be a little disappointing if one was expecting to see the full gamut of his quintessential works.  What the show accomplishes in fine fashion, is to give visitors a better understanding of how Marcel Duchamp became Marcel Duchamp - his influences, his theories, his evolution - which all leads up to his final and greatest work "La Mariée mise à nu par ses Célibataires, même [The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even]" also known as "The Large Glass" created between 1915-1923.  While the original "Large Glass" resides at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a replica was borrowed from the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and is dramatically displayed in the final gallery.

This monumental work was the culmination of Duchamp's research into geometry, mathematics, perspective, optics, astronomy, chess and mechanics.  No longer "art of the eye" or "retinal art", it was "art of the mind" that explored the idea of "passage" in "geometrical, chemical, psychological, physiological, sexual and metaphysical terms".  The imagery consists of the Bride in a sort of Milky Way, seen in the upper section, and the world of the Bachelors in the lower section.  The border between the two sections represents the two worlds, according to Duchamp "the horizon and the undone clothing of the Bride".  Influences on the imagery and the construction came from many sources both highbrow - Leonardo, Cézanne, Cranach the Elder - and more popular - fairground puppet shows and naughty "undressing the bride" films - that all combined in an achievement that has excited art historians and theorists for nearly a century.

Duchamp purposefully left "The Large Glass" unfinished and it was long thought to be his final major creation.  He went on to pursue adjunct projects including film making, building machines, playing chess and jeu de mots.  He perhaps had the last laugh with the 1964 reproductions of his Ready-mades, most of which had been lost or destroyed, giving a whole new meaning to "original" art.

I have sat in on many discussions among Duchamp scholars dissecting the meaning of this image or that choice of word, and most of the time I'm lost.  But this exhibition "La Peinture, même" did give me a new insight and perspective into the master's work and I left with a greater appreciation for "the picture that endeavors to capture what eludes the retina...the final picture"

November 14, 2014

Delaunay & Delaunay - Robert & Sonia Reign Over Paris

The early 20th Century European art scene featured some prototypical "power couples".  Husband and wife duos like Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber Arp, Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter, Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova, were all successful artists both individually and when they worked together with their spouses in collaborative ventures.

One of the most prominent of these artist couples was Robert and Sonia Delaunay who worked alone and together to explore and promote their theories of "Orphism" and "Simultanism" during the early 1900s.  Traditionally, Robert Delaunay has been favored as the more successful of the pair, but Sonia's accomplishments have been receiving much more notice in recent years.  This fall Parisians will have a chance to decide for themselves as each artist is the subject of a major museum retrospective.

Let's start with Madame and "Sonia Delaunay: The Colours of Abstraction" now on view at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.  Born Sarah Stern in the Ukraine in 1885, she was adopted by her wealthy uncle and moved St. Petersburg as a young girl.  Now Sonia Terk, she had both the exposure to culture and financial security to precipitate a move to Paris to study art.  A brief marriage to the Modern Art dealer Wilhelm Uhde propelled her career until she met and fell madly in love with Robert Delaunay.  The first marriage was doomed and Uhde graciously stepped aside to allow Sonia and Robert to marry and form a union that was both an affaire de cœur and a symbiotic meeting of the minds that endured until Robert's death.

The Delaunays combined forces to proclaim a new art based on the dynamic forces of color.  They called it Simultanism and it was a major step on the road to Abstract Art.  Sonia Delaunay was a masterful painter and designer and while her canvases are magnificent, it was the more practical applications of her art that the couple relied on to support themselves and their young son.  She began to explore more lucrative forms of expression such as advertising, fashion, costume and interior design always using her own special Modernist approach to color and form to create objects and decorations that were way ahead of their time.

Sonia Delaunay
Plate # 20 from "Ses Peintures, ses objets, ses tissus
Simultanés, ses robes", 1925

Inspired by the brilliant natural light of Portugal and the newfangled electric lights now illuminating Paris, Sonia Delaunay's bold concentric circles, blocks and zig zags reflected her artistic preoccupations with color, motion, energy and dynamism.  Her clients included actress Gloria Swanson, heiress Nancy Cunard and the Dutch department store Metz who carried a full line of her textiles for clothing and home.  Sonia Delaunay's designs were featured at the 1925 Paris Exhibition - the unofficial birthplace of the Art Déco movement - and her geometric mural panels graced the Railway and Air Transport Pavilions of the 1937 International Exhibition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts.  Her artistic collaborations with Dada and Surrealist writers including Blaise Cendrars and Tristan Tzara produced illustrated books that are sought after to this day and her contributions to the ballet and cinema made Simultanism a staple of performing arts.

Sonia Delaunay and Blaise Cendrars
Last section of "La Prose du Transsibérian", 1913

We are not quite finished with our visit to "Sonia Delaunay: The Colour of Abstraction" but I think it is a good time to head over to the Centre Pompidou for the second part of this blog, the exhibition "Robert Delaunay: Rythmes sans fin [Rhythms Without End]".  Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) was a native Parisian who had grown up in the milieu of art and artists.  His fortuitous encounter and subsequent marriage to Sonia Terk literally jump started his career as they worked together to develop Modernist theories of Simultanism and Orphism while she provided the financial stability for Robert to pursue their application on canvas.  Robert Delaunay became a famous painter of "color vibrations" and his works hang in some of the great museums and collections of the world. 

Robert Delaunay "Tour Eiffel", 1926

The exhibition now on view at the Centre Pompidou is particularly interesting as it does not portray him simply as a Modernist painter and pioneer of Abstract Art, but includes his forays into the applied arts including theater, architecture and advertising.  From this unique perspective visitors can finally appreciate how the Delaunay marriage was a true partnership, both personally and professionally.  Both were gifted Modernist painters and at the same time both realized the practical and artistic value of the more decorative and performing arts.  To them, art was art.

Sonia Delaunay
Close up of Mural for Air Transport Pavilion, 1937

With finances strained by the Great Depression, compounded by the grave danger of being Jewish in Paris during World War II, Sonia and Robert Delaunay left Paris for the South of France.  Sadly, Robert succumbed to cancer and Sonia was left to reinvent her life in a post-war era.  While she began once again to explore painting, primarily in the medium of gouache, she also worked to promote her late husband's work starting with his first retrospective at the Galerie Louis Carré in 1946.

Robert Delaunay "Rythme # 1", 1938

By the time Sonia Delaunay passed away at the age of 92, she had achieved respect for her contribution to theories of Abstraction but was always a bit of a post script to her more famous husband. This attitude has begun to shift in recent years as more and more she is recognized as a true theoretician and practitioner of Modernism.

I have long been a champion of the work of Sonia Delaunay and was thrilled to be able to catch both of these exhibitions while in Paris in October.  And while the show at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris may have been a little heavy on her achievements in the field of fashion and design
rather than fine arts, it successfully established her as serious and viable artist.  Robert and Sonia Delaunay, both together and separately, were important contributors to Modern Art and their influences can still be felt today.