What a discovery (for me, at least...) !
My friend Pierre, sucessful entrepreneur and former rugger at Stade Français and RC Le Chesnay (the only French club with no website ??), referred to me last week this fantastic painting from Robert Delaunay, named "Equipe de Cardiff", first exhibited in 1913 and now at Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Artists have often seen sports as an opportunity to capture modernity, movement, speed, bodies, colours... this painting brings all this, and much more... mixing the rugby game, the Eiffel tower (a recurring theme in Delaunay's work) and Paris Ferris Wheel, an aeroplane, advertising (Astra is a aeroplane manufacturer) in a splendid collage-like composition. Quote from Delaunay "Movement is produced by the rapport of odd elements, of the contrasts of colors between themselves which constitutes Reality"
The group of ruggers is said to be a photography of French (and not from Cardiff, I'm afraid...) players published in La Vie Au Grand Air, but did not manage to find it... Let's also remember that this pre-ww1 era was a great time for aviation pioneers (the Wright Bros first flying in 1903... Louis Bleriot crossing the Channel in 1909...). Here is (more or less) the same plane flying over Paris...
Interestingly, Delaunay worked out several other versions of his "Equipe de Cardiff" between 1912 and 1922... I've found three others now exhibited in Paris, Eindhoven (Van Abbemuseum) and Edinburgh (National Galleries of Scotland).
You will find Delaunay's bio (in English) and some other paintings on this nice website.
(all pictures are copyrighted - credit to their respective owners)