ROBERT DELAUNAY was a big, blond, bright-eyed Parisian who had a passion for painting and was inordinately ambitious. As a youth, wrote Gertrude Stein, Delaunay "was always asking how old Picasso had been when he had painted a certain picture. When he was told he always said, Oh I am not as old as that yet. I will do as much when I am that'age." When he was only 21, he submitted Manege de Cochons (a twirling semi-abstract with pigs racing about and black-stockinged legs and top-hatted figures joining in the carrousel of life) to the 1906 Salon d'Automne. It...

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