Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay wearing Casa Sonia creations, Madrid, 1918-20. © Wikimedia commons

Sonia Delaunay
(B. 1885–1979)

Sonia Delaunay was a French artist and key figure in the Parisian avant-garde who became the European doyenne of abstract art.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century she celebrated the modern world of movement, technology and urban life, exploring new ideas about colour theory – often together with her husband Robert Delaunay.

Born and raised in Russia, she was first educated in Germany and then France, making Paris her home just in time when modern art was finding a new way to use meaningful subject matters which don’t necessarily dependent on realistic depictions of the world.

Sonia was one of the primary propagators of Orphism, which is also called Simultaneism in the visual arts, is a trend in abstract art spearheaded by Robert Delaunay. This movement derived from Cubism and gave priority to light and colour as well as representing time and experience. Delaunay extended the visual exploration of this theory to a range of fields beyond painting, developing an entire career in textile design and fashion.

Delaunay produced two wearable art designs: both pendant-brooches. The first originated from a 1977 design she previously made with Gian Carlo Montebello of GEM in Milan, who created jewellery for artists including Niki de Saint Phalle and Man Ray. Titled Danse: Rythme sans fin, the piece was based on a 1923 gouache of the same name. When remaking the design for Artcurial, Delaunay called the work Flamenco. The second design created for Artcurial was Abstraction and is currently available at the Elisabetta Cipriani Gallery.

Delaunay’s works of art can be admired in renowned museum around the world, like The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Hermitage Museum (Saint Petersburg) and the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh) to name just a few.