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The Guggenheim Museum Presents Harmony and Dissonance: Orphism in Paris, 1910–1930

Exhibition spotlights the transformative possibilities of color, form, and motion in artworks by a transnational array of artists exploring abstraction in the early twentieth century.


Exhibition: Harmony and Dissonance: Orphism in Paris, 1910–1930
Venue: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York
Location: Rotunda Levels 1–5 and High Gallery
Dates: November 8, 2024–March 9, 2025

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will present Harmony and Dissonance: Orphism in Paris, 1910–1930, the first in-depth examination of Orphism, which emerged in Paris among a group of cosmopolitan artists in the early 1910s—when changes brought on by modernity were radically altering notions of time and space. Open from November 8, 2024, to March 9, 2025, the presentation will feature over 80 artworks comprising painting, sculpture, works on paper, and ephemera, installed across five levels of the museum’s spiral rotunda.

The poet Guillaume Apollinaire coined the term “Orphism” in 1912 to describe artists who were moving away from Cubism toward an abstract, multisensory mode of expression. Apollinaire’s concept referenced the Greek mythological poet and lyre player Orpheus—who swayed nature and challenged death with his song—equating the ephemeral abstraction of his music with Orphism’s transcendent character.

Associated artists such as Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, František Kupka, and Francis Picabia created kaleidoscopic compositions that captured the simultaneity of modern life. Some investigated chromatic consonances and contrasts in their prismatic works, while others engaged with the rhythms and syncopations of popular music and dance. They drew inspiration from Neo-Impressionism’s color theory and the Blue Rider group’s philosophies. When pushed to its limits, Orphism meant total abstraction.

Alongside the formal harmony and dissonance related to color and sound that underpins Orphist compositions, the exhibition will reveal sociocultural corollaries sparked by transnationalism: the connections that greater mobility fostered between artists from myriad countries who converged in Paris as well as the tensions that geographic and cultural dislocations could engender.

Harmony and Dissonance will employ Orphism as a generous and elastic category to embrace a spectrum of artists experimenting with abstraction in the early twentieth century. Thus, selected works by Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, Mainie Jellett, Fernand Léger, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Morgan Russell, and others will be among those in the presentation. Around a quarter of the exhibition’s works hail from the Guggenheim’s collection, the very body of art that Frank Lloyd Wright designed the museum to house, aptly honoring the building’s 65th anniversary in fall 2024.

Harmony and Dissonance will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue that, in tandem with the exhibition, situates Orphism historically, traces its roots, and addresses its multidisciplinary reach. Edited by Vivien Greene, the fully illustrated publication features essays by an international roster of both established and emerging scholars from multiple fields including dance, history, literature, and musicology—namely Nell Andrew, Tracey Bashkoff, Gurminder K. Bhogal, Elizabeth Everton, David Max Horowitz, and Effie Rentzou—as well as concise texts that consider specific artists through the Orphist lens contributed by Matthew Affron, Masha Chlenova, Riann Coulter, Joana Cunha Leal, Megan Fontanella, Caitlin Glosser, Bellara Huang, Michael Leja, Anna Liesching, Chitra Ramalingam, and Rachel Silveri.

The conservation of Robert Delaunay’s Eiffel Tower (1911; dated 1910 by the artist) is another example of the commendable scholarly research conducted around this exhibition. The cleaning of this work by the Guggenheim Museum conservation team, along with František Kupka’s Divertimento I (1935), has restored the paintings’ subtle yet important color shifts, depth, and sense of movement.

Additionally, the museum will conduct a carbon emission study on Harmony and Dissonance, in accordance with the institution’s commitments to quantify its environmental impact, establish benchmarks and baselines, and ultimately reduce its carbon footprint.

Several programs will be presented in the Guggenheim Museum on the occasion of Harmony and Dissonance beginning in late 2024. Furthermore, the museum is partnering with the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to stage a multidisciplinary performance that will be held at The Met on February 11, 2025, and a study day to be hosted at the Guggenheim Museum on February 12, 2025. Event details are subject to change. Please visit for more information.

Harmony and Dissonance: Orphism in Paris, 1910–1930 is organized by Tracey Bashkoff, Senior Director of Collections and Senior Curator, and Vivien Greene, Senior Curator, 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, with the support of Bellara Huang, Curatorial Assistant, Exhibitions.


The Leadership Committee for Harmony and Dissonance: Orphism in Paris, 1910–1930 is gratefully acknowledged for its generosity, with special thanks to Oded Halahmy Foundation for the Arts, Inc., Natasha and François-Xavier de Mallmann, Judy and Leonard Lauder, Peter Bentley Brandt, and Aaron I. Fleischman and Lin Lougheed.

Support is also generously provided by The Kate Cassidy Foundation and The David Berg Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Collections Council, the Curators Circle, and the International Director’s Council.

About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1937 and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The international constellation of museums includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. An architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is now among a group of eight Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the United States recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. To learn more about the museum and the Guggenheim’s activities around the world, visit


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