Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower with Trees, 1910
From the Guggenheim:
In their limited palette and simple blocklike forms, Delaunay’s first treatments of the Eiffel Tower show the influence of Georges Braque and Paul Cézanne. The more dynamic representation of Eiffel Tower with Trees signals a shift in the artist’s style. Delaunay showed the tower from several viewpoints at once, suggesting the movement of the eye through space and time and expressing a Simultanist vision. By introducing the element of time, the artist was able to synthesize several impressions of the tower, capturing the full perceptual experience that Delaunay believed was the key to inner awareness. It is significant that this painting was executed when he was away from Paris, working from memory.
Eiffel Tower with Trees marks the beginning of Delaunay’s “destructive” phase: the solid form in his earlier works becomes fragmented and begins to crumble, though, unlike the objects of the Cubists’ investigations, the tower here still remains distinguishable from the surrounding space. This works shows the beginnings of the artist’s use of light to permeate and fracture solid form, splintering his subject into a kaleidoscope of shattered elements. As Delaunay’s study of the energy and immateriality of light became more intense, his works began to express more clearly the artist’s belief that light is the essence of all being—“the only reality”—and our perception of it the path to harmony.