Sonia Delaunay

“One who knows how to appreciate color relationships, the influences of one color with another, their contrasts and dissonances, is promised an infinite variety of images.”

Sonia Delaunay (Odessa, Ukraine, 1885—Paris, France, 1979) was a co-founder of Orphism along with her husband and fellow artist Robert Delaunay. Born in Ukraine, she studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany before moving to Paris. Fauvism, Cubism, and post-Impressionism all had a great impact on her, and the artist shifted her focus to non-objective painting. She met Robert Delaunay and they married in 1910. After making a quilt inspired by blankets of Russian peasants with multiple bits of fabric for their son Charles, she decided to apply the same process to painting and other objects. Based on principles of simultaneity in color theory, she preferred the term “Simultaneous Contrasts” to Orphism according to the theory that certain designs appeared different in various juxtapositions. Her paintings were characterized by bold color and geometric shapes. Sonia Delaunay extended these same principles to textiles, fashion, costume, pottery, and set design as a firm believer that there was no difference between the fine and so-called “minor arts.” She was the first living artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964.