Born in 1885 into a poor Jewish family in the Ukrainian village of Gradizhske, Sonia Delaunay was to become one of the central figures in the 20th century avant-garde movement. Together with her husband Robert Delaunay, she developed an artistic language which conveyed the harmonious qualities of colour above all else.
The Delaunays built on the ideas of cubism, but prioritised vibrant colour. Sonia took inspiration from memories of bright costumes at Ukrainian peasant weddings, and the comparative luxuries of a middle-class upbringing with her uncle in St Petersburg. The resulting pictures hummed with movement, light and music. So much so that the critic Guillaume Appollinaire coined the term ‘Orphism’ to describe the Delaunay’s work, after the poet Orpheus of Greek mythology.
Sonia applied her aesthetic theories beyond the canvas, fusing modernist art and daily life in an unprecedented way. ‘I always changed everything around me… I made my first white walls so our paintings would look better,’ she said. ‘I designed my furniture; I have done everything. I have lived my art.’
The broad, interdisciplinary approach Sonia took to her practice lead to a wide range of commissions, including set design for stage productions, illustrations for Vogue, and later, furniture designs for movies. She even opened her own fashion boutique, with her own textiles label selling her designs worldwide.
In 1964 Sonia Delauney became the first living female artist to be given a retrospective at the Louvre in Paris. She died in 1979, happy for having lived her art.
All works will be available for sale.