Sonia Delaunay was a Ukrainian-born artist. She’s famous for extending the art beyond of the conventional mediums, as she worked in modern design including the concepts of geometric abstraction in objects of everyday life as furniture, fabrics, wall coverings and clothes. To Delaunay, the artist could find the inspiration in the simple things, because she believed that art can be everywhere.
“About 1911 I had the idea of making for my son, who had just been born, a blanket composed of bits of fabric like those I had seen in the houses of Ukrainian peasants. When it was finished, the arrangement of the pieces of material seemed to me to evoke cubist conceptions and we then tried to apply the same process to other objects and paintings.”
When Sonia was only a child, their parents entrusted her to a maternal uncle that lived in Saint Petersburg. There she received a cosmopolitan upbringing. Her first contact with German art was through an acquaintance of her uncle, the artist Max Liebermann. In 1904 she moved to Karlsruhe, where she initiated her art studies.
Later, she received training at the Académie la Palette in Paris. We can observe in her work of that time her admiration for Van Gogh, Gauguin and the Fauvism of Matisse. She didn’t want to leave France and for this reason she entered into a convenience marriage with an art dealer who introduced her to artists as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Robert Delaunay. In 1910, after divorcing her first husband, she married the painter Robert Delaunay.
Most of her artistic work was created during the years she lived in Paris with her husband, Robert Delaunay, where among others artists they cofounded the Orphism art movement, which is noted for the use of strong and contrasting colours as well as the geometric shapes. Contemporary art critics recognize this as the point where she moved away from perspective and naturalism in her art.
- Sonia Delaunay was the first living woman to have a retrospective exhibition at the Musée du Louvre (1964).
- In 1975, she was named an officer of the French Legion of Honour.