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Artists Sonia Delaunay
Sonia Delaunay Photo

Sonia Delaunay

Ukrainian-born French Painter, Textile Designer, Fashion and Costume Designer

Movements and Styles: Cubism, Orphism

Born: November 14, 1885 - Odessa, Ukraine

Died: December 5, 1979 - Paris, France

Sonia Delaunay Timeline

Quotes

"Everything is feeling, everything is real joy. Colour brings me joy."
Sonia Delaunay
"Color is the skin of the world."
Sonia Delaunay
"Up to the present, painting has been nothing but photography in color, but the color was always used as a means of describing something. Abstract art is a beginning towards freeing the old pictorial formula. But the real new painting will begin when people understand that color has a life of its own, that the infinite combinations of color have a poetry and a language much more expressive than the old methods. It is a mysterious language in tune with the vibrations, the life itself, of coulour. In this area, there are new and infinite possibilities."
Sonia Delaunay
"If one does it well and it is not expensive, one could work all the time at couture."
Sonia Delaunay
"I have had three lives: one for Robert, one for my son and grandsons, a shorter one for myself. I have no regrets for not having been more concerned with myself. I really didn't have the time."
Sonia Delaunay
"Abstract art is only important if it is the endless rhythm where the very ancient and the distant future meet."
Sonia Delaunay
"Just as, in written poetry, it is not the way the words are put together that counts, but the mystery of creation that gives, or does not give, an emotion...so with colors, it is poetry and the mystery of an inner life that emerges, radiates and communicates. On that basis, we can freely create a new language."
Sonia Delaunay

"the infinite combinations of color have a poetry and a language much more expressive than the old methods"

Synopsis

Sonia Delaunay's career spanned the European continent, allowing her to reap the riches of the exciting advances by many avant-garde art groups. Born and raised in Russia, she was educated in Germany and then France, making Paris her home just as modern art was finding a new way to find meaningful subject matter not dependent on realistic depictions of the world. Sonia was one of the primary propagators of Orphism (a movement founded by her husband Robert), a theory wedding color to form in order to achieve visual intensity on the surface of the canvas. Delaunay extended the visual exploration of this theory to a range of fields beyond painting, developing an entire career in textile design.

Key Ideas

By matching primary and secondary colors (red with green, yellow with purple, and blue with orange) to create a kind of visual vibration, Robert Dulaunay developed a new type of expressive, abstract paintings. He called this exploration "Simultaneous Contrast," but the movement became officially known as Orphism and Sonia was one of its chief practitioners.
The Delaunay couple used Orphism to create non-objective imagery, the significance of which was based on the intensity of the expression that they could create with color on the surface of the canvas. They placed lines of primary color beside those of secondary color, understanding that the scientific effect on the eye of such combinations would result in art that could be just as scintillating to the viewer as those depicting a standard view of reality such as a figure reclining on a couch. Their efforts produced a body of work that forced the viewer to experience their pieces visually - yet powerfully.
Sonia Delaunay's exploration of expressive color in the field of textile design differentiates her significantly from other members of the contemporary avant-garde. Besides designing, making, and selling garments in her own fashion boutique, she was responsible for costume design in a range of the performing arts including theatre and dance. She ended up creating a line of textiles so significant that it was picked up by one of the biggest fabric manufacturers in Europe.

Biography

Sonia Delaunay Photo

Childhood and Education

Sonia Delaunay was born Sara Élievna Stern, the youngest of three children, to impoverished Jewish parents in Odessa, Ukraine. At five, she was sent to live with her mother's well-off brother, Henri Terk, and his wife in St. Petersburg, Russia. Although her mother never allowed a legal adoption, Delaunay thought of them as her family and took the name Sofia Terk, using "Sonia" as a nickname. She received a good education, had access to great art collections, and traveled Europe spending summers in Finland. At sixteen, Delaunay's art teacher noticed her talent and encouraged her uncle and aunt to send her to Germany for further art training.

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Sonia Delaunay Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Sonia Delaunay
Interactive chart with Sonia Delaunay's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Robert DelaunayRobert Delaunay
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Vincent van GoghVincent van Gogh

Personal Contacts

Guillaume ApollinaireGuillaume Apollinaire
Blaise CendrarsBlaise Cendrars
Tristan TzaraTristan Tzara
Wilhelm UhdeWilhelm Uhde

Movements

CubismCubism
DadaDada
FauvismFauvism

Influences on Artist
Sonia Delaunay
Sonia Delaunay
Years Worked: 1906 - 1979
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Richard AnuszkiewiczRichard Anuszkiewicz
Hans ArpHans Arp
Robert DelaunayRobert Delaunay
Paul KleePaul Klee
Marina AbramovićMarina Abramović

Personal Contacts

Guillaume ApollinaireGuillaume Apollinaire
Blaise CendrarsBlaise Cendrars
Tristan TzaraTristan Tzara
Wilhelm UhdeWilhelm Uhde

Movements

Abstract ArtAbstract Art
CubismCubism
DadaDada
Kinetic ArtKinetic Art
Op ArtOp Art

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Caroline Igra

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Caroline Igra
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