Sonia Terk, c.1912
Sarah Ilinitchna Stern
14 November 1885
Yekaterinburg, Russian Empire
|Died||5 December 1979 94) (aged|
Sonia Delaunay (November 14, 1885 – December 5, 1979) was a Ukrainian-born French artist, who spent most of her working life in Paris and, with her husband Robert Delaunay and others, cofounded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colors and geometric shapes. Her work extends to painting, textile design and stage set design. She was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964, and in 1975 was named an officer of the French Legion of Honor.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.
Robert Delaunay was a French artist who, with his wife Sonia Delaunay and others, co-founded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes. His later works were more abstract. His key influence related to bold use of colour and a clear love of experimentation with both depth and tone.
Orphism or Orphic Cubism, a term coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1912, was an offshoot of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors, influenced by Fauvism, the theoretical writings of Paul Signac, Charles Henry and the dye chemist Eugène Chevreul. This movement, perceived as key in the transition from Cubism to Abstract art, was pioneered by František Kupka, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, who relaunched the use of color during the monochromatic phase of Cubism. The meaning of the term Orphism was elusive when it first appeared and remains to some extent vague.
Her work in modern design included the concepts of geometric abstraction, the integration of furniture, fabrics, wall coverings, and clothing.
Geometric abstraction is a form of abstract art based on the use of geometric forms sometimes, though not always, placed in non-illusionistic space and combined into non-objective (non-representational) compositions. Although the genre was popularized by avant-garde artists in the early twentieth century, similar motifs have been used in art since ancient times.
Sarah Ilinitchna Stern was most likely born on 14 November 1885 in Hradyzk, then Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire, today in Poltava Oblast in Ukraine.Her father was foreman of a nail factory. At a young age she moved to St. Petersburg, where she was cared for by her mother's brother, Henri Terk. Henri, a successful and affluent lawyer, and his wife Anna wanted to adopt her but her mother would not allow it. Finally in 1890 she was adopted by the Terks. She assumed the name Sonia Terk and received a privileged upbringing with the Terks. They spent their summers in Finland and traveled widely in Europe introducing Sonia to art museums and galleries. When she was 16 she attended a well-regarded secondary school in St. Petersburg, where her skill at drawing was noted by her teacher. When she was 18, at her teacher's suggestion, she was sent to art school in Germany where she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. She studied in Germany until 1905 when she decided to move on to Paris.
Hradyzk is an urban-type settlement in Hlobyne Raion of Poltava Oblast (province) of Ukraine. Population: 6,413 (2015 est.)
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
When she arrived in Paris she enrolled at the Académie de La Palette in Montparnasse. Unhappy with the mode of teaching, which she thought was too critical, she spent less time at the Académie and more time in galleries around Paris. Her own work during this period was strongly influenced by the art she was viewing including the post-impressionist art of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Henri Rousseau and the fauves including Henri Matisse and Derain. During her first year in Paris she met, and in 1908 married, German art gallery owner Wilhelm Uhde. Little is known about their union, but it is assumed to have been a marriage of convenience to escape the demands of her parents, who disliked her artistic career, for her to return to Russia.Sonia gained entrance into the art world via exhibitions at Uhde's gallery and benefitted from his connections, and Uhde masked his homosexuality through his public marriage to Sonia.
Académie de La Palette, also called Académie La Palette and La Palette,, was a private art school in Paris, France, active between 1888 and 1914, aimed at promoting 'conciliation entre la liberté et le respect de la tradition'.
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a French post-Impressionist artist. Unappreciated until after his death, Gauguin is now recognized for his experimental use of color and Synthetist style that were distinctly different from Impressionism. Toward the end of his life, he spent ten years in French Polynesia, and most of his paintings from this time depict people or landscapes from that region.
Comtesse de Rose, mother of Robert Delaunay, was a regular visitor to Uhde's gallery, sometimes accompanied by her son. Sonia met Robert Delaunay in early 1909. They became lovers in April of that year and it was decided that she and Uhde should divorce. The divorce was finalised in August 1910.Sonia was pregnant and she and Robert married on November 15, 1910. Their son Charles was born on January 18, 1911. They were supported by an allowance sent from Sonia's aunt in St. Petersburg.
Charles Delaunay was a French author, jazz expert, co-founder and long-term leader of the Hot Club de France.
Sonia said about Robert: "In Robert Delaunay I found a poet. A poet who wrote not with words but with colours".
In 1911, Sonia Delaunay made a patchwork quilt for Charles's crib, which is now in the collection of the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris. This quilt was created spontaneously and uses geometry and colour.
"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." Sonia Delaunay
Contemporary art critics recognize this as the point where she moved away from perspective and naturalism in her art. Around the same time, cubist works were being shown in Paris and Robert had been studying the colour theories of Michel Eugène Chevreul; they called their experiments with colour in art and design simultanéisme. Simultaneous design occurs when one design, when placed next to another, affects both; this is similar to the theory of colours (Pointillism, as used by e.g. Georges Seurat) in which primary colour dots placed next to each other are "mixed" by the eye and affect each other. Sonia's first large-scale painting in this style was Bal Bullier (1912–13), a painting known for both its use of colour and movement.
The Delaunays' friend, the poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire, coined the term Orphism to describe the Delaunays' version of Cubism in 1913. It was through Apollinaire that in 1912 Sonia met the poet Blaise Cendrars who was to become her friend and collaborator. Sonia Delaunay described in an interview that the discovery of Cendrars' work “gave me [her] a push, a shock.” [ who? ] that Paul Klee was so impressed with her use of squares in her binding of Cendrars' poem that they became an enduring feature in his own work.She illustrated Cendrars' poem La prose du Transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France (Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Jehanne of France) about a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway, by creating a 2m-long accordion-pleated book. Using simultaneous design principles the book merged text and design. The book, which was sold almost entirely by subscription, created a stir amongst Paris critics. The simultaneous book was later shown at the Autumn Salon in Berlin in 1913, along with paintings and other applied artworks such as dresses, and it is said
The Delaunays travelled to Spain in 1914, staying with friends in Madrid. At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 Sonia and Robert were staying in Fontarabie, with their son still in Madrid. They decided not to return to France.In August 1915 they moved to Portugal where they shared a home with Samuel Halpert and Eduardo Viana. With Viana and their friends Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, whom the Delaunays had already met in Paris, and José de Almada Negreiros they discussed an artistic partnership. In Portugal she painted Marché au Minho (the market at Minho, 1916), which she later says was "inspired by the beauty of the country". Sonia had a solo exhibition in Stockholm (1916).
The Russian Revolution brought an end to the financial support Sonia received from her family in Russia, and a different source of income was needed. In 1917 the Delaunays met Sergei Diaghilev in Madrid. Sonia designed costumes for his production of Cleopatra (stage design by Robert Delaunay) and for the performance of Aida in Barcelona. In Madrid she decorated the Petit Casino (a nightclub) and founded Casa Sonia, selling her designs for interior decoration and fashion, with a branch in Bilbao.She was the center of a Madrid Salon.
Sonia Delaunay travelled to Paris twice in 1920 looking for opportunities in the fashion business,and in August she wrote a letter to Paul Poiret stating she wanted to expand her business and include some of his designs. Poiret declined, claiming she had copied designs from his Ateliers de Martine and was married to a French deserter (Robert). Galerie der Sturm in Berlin showed works by Sonia and Robert from their Portuguese period the same year.
Sonia, Robert and their son Charles returned to Paris permanently in 1921 and moved into Boulevard Malesherbes 19.The Delaunays' most acute financial problems were solved when they sold Henri Rousseau's La Charmeuse de serpents (The Snake Charmer) to Jacques Doucet. Sonia Delaunay made clothes for private clients and friends, and in 1923 created fifty fabric designs using geometrical shapes and bold colours, commissioned by a manufacturer from Lyon. Soon after, she started her own business and simultané became her registered trademark.
For the 1923 staging of Tristan Tzaras play Le Cœur à Gaz she designed the set and costumes.In 1924 she opened a fashion studio together with Jacques Heim. Her customers included Nancy Cunard, Gloria Swanson, Lucienne Bogaert and Gabrielle Dorziat.
With Heim she had a pavilion at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, called boutique simultané.Sonia Delaunay gave a lecture at the Sorbonne on the influence of painting on fashion.
"If there are geometric forms, it is because these simple and manageable elements have appeared suitable for the distribution of colors whose relations constitute the real object of our search, but these geometric forms do not characterize our art. The distribution of colors can be effected as well with complex forms, such as flowers, etc. ... only the handling of these would be a little more delicate."
Sonia designed costumes for two films: Le Vertige directed by Marcel L'Herbier and Le p'tit Parigot , directed by René Le Somptier,and designed some furniture for the set of the 1929 film Parce que je t'aime (Because I love you). During this period, she also designed haute couture textiles for Robert Perrier, while participating actively in his artistic salon, R-26. The Great Depression caused a decline in business. After closing her business, Sonia Delaunay returned to painting, but she still designed for Jacques Heim, Metz & Co, Perrier and private clients. She said "the depression liberated her from business". 1935 the Delaunays moved to rue Saint-Simon 16.
By the end of 1934 Sonia was working on designs for the 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, for which she and Robert worked together on decorating two pavilions: the Pavillon des Chemins de Fer and the Palais de l'Air. Sonia however did not want to be part of the contract for the commission, but chose to help Robert if she wanted. She said "I am free and mean to remain so."The murals and painted panels for the exhibition were executed by fifty artists including Albert Gleizes, Léopold Survage, Jacques Villon, Roger Bissière and Jean Crotti.
Robert Delaunay died of cancer in October 1941.
After the second world war, Sonia was a board member of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles for several years.Sonia and her son Charles in 1964 donated 114 works by Sonia and Robert to the Musée National d'Art Moderne. Alberto Magnelli told her "she and Braque were the only living painters to have been shown at the Louvre". In 1966 she published Rythmes-Couleurs (colour-rhythms), with 11 of her gouaches reproduced as pochoirs and texts by Jacques Damase, and in 1969 Robes poèmes (poem-dresses), also with texts by Jacques Damase containing 27 pochoirs. For Matra, she decorated a Matra 530. In 1975 Sonia was named an officer of the French Legion of Honor. From 1976 she developed a range of textiles, tableware and jewellery with French company Artcurial, inspired by her work from the 1920s. Her autobiography, Nous irons jusqu'au soleil (We shall go up to the sun) was published in 1978.
Sonia Delaunay died December 5, 1979, in Paris, aged 94. She was buried in Gambais, next to Robert Delaunay's grave.
Her son, Charles Delaunay, became an expert in jazz music during the 1930s. He was a jazz critic, organizer of jazz concerts and a founder of the Hot Club of France (the first jazz club in France) and the first editor of Jazz Hot Magazine, the club's official publication.
Delaunay's painting Coccinelle was featured on a stamp jointly released by the French Post Office, La Poste and the United Kingdom's Royal Mail in 2004 to commemorate the centenary of the Entente Cordiale.
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Frédéric-Louis Sauser, better known as Blaise Cendrars, was a Swiss-born novelist and poet who became a naturalized French citizen in 1916. He was a writer of considerable influence in the European modernist movement.
Marie Laurencin was a French painter and printmaker. She became an important figure in the Parisian avant-garde as a member of the Cubists associated with the Section d'Or.
Aleksandra Aleksandrovna Ekster, also known as Alexandra Exter, was a Russian Cubo-Futurist, Suprematist, Constructivist painter and designer of international stature who divided her life between Kiev, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Vienna, and Paris.
The Société des Artistes Indépendants, Salon des Indépendants was formed in Paris on 29 July 1884. The association began with the organization of massive exhibitions in Paris, choosing the slogan "sans jury ni récompense". Albert Dubois-Pillet, Odilon Redon, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac were among its founders. For the following three decades their annual exhibitions set the trends in art of the early 20th century, along with the Salon d'Automne. This is where artworks were often first displayed and widely discussed. World War I brought a closure to the salon, though the Artistes Indépendants remained active. Since 1920, the headquarters is located in the vast basements of the Grand Palais.
Ricciotto Canudo was an early Italian film theoretician who lived primarily in France. In 1913 he published a bimonthly avant-garde magazine entitled Montjoie!, promoting Cubism in particular. He saw cinema as "plastic art in motion", and gave cinema the label "the Sixth Art", later changed to "the Seventh Art", still current in French and Spanish, among others. Canudo subsequently added dance as a precursor to the sixth—a third rhythmic art with music and poetry—making cinema the seventh art.
Wilhelm Uhde was a German art collector, dealer, author and critic, an early collector of modernist painting, and a significant figure in the career of Henri Rousseau.
La prose du Transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France is a collaborative artists' book by Blaise Cendrars and Sonia Delaunay-Terk. The book features a poem by Cendrars about a journey through Russia on the Trans-Siberian Express in 1905, during the first Russian Revolution, interlaced with an almost-abstract pochoir print by Delaunay-Terk. The work, published in 1913, is considered a milestone in the evolution of artist's books as well as modernist poetry and abstract art.
Gabriel Guevrekian was an Armenian architect, who designed buildings, interiors and gardens, and taught architecture. He worked in Europe, Iran and the USA.
The Salon des Réalités Nouvelles is an association of artists and an art exhibition in Paris, focusing on abstract art.
Roger Bissière was a French artist. He designed stained glass windows for Metz cathedral and several other churches.
Le Vertige is a 1926 French film directed by Marcel l'Herbier.
Marie-Jacques Renée "Jacotte" Perrier was a French singer, fashion journalist, voice actress, socialite, author and art collector. She was best known for her musical collaborations with the Quintette du Hot Club de France and her fashion reporting for Fairchild Publications. She was the daughter of musical composer and haute couture textile supplier Robert Perrier, from whom she inherited direction of the R-26 artistic salon.
Danseuse au café is a large oil painting created in 1912 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). The work was exhibited in Paris at the Salon d'Automne of 1912, entitled Danseuse. The Cubist contribution to the 1912 Salon d'Automne created a controversy in the Municipal Council of Paris, leading to a debate in the Chambre des Députés about the use of public funds to provide the venue for such 'barbaric' art. The Cubists were defended by the Socialist deputy, Marcel Sembat. This painting was realized as Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger, in preparation for the Salon de la Section d'Or, published a major defence of Cubism, resulting in the first theoretical essay on the new movement, Du «Cubisme». Danseuse au café was first reproduced in a photograph published in an article entitled Au Salon d'Automne "Les Indépendants" in the French newspaper Excelsior, 2 Octobre 1912. The painting is now located at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo New York.
L'Oiseau bleu is a large oil painting created in 1912–1913 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956); considered by Guillaume Apollinaire and André Salmon as a founder of Cubism, along with Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. L'Oiseau bleu, one of Metzinger's most recognizable and frequently referenced works, was first exhibited in Paris at the Salon des Indépendants in the spring of 1913, several months after the publication of the first Cubist manifesto, Du «Cubisme», written by Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes (1912). It was subsequently exhibited at the 1913 Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon in Berlin. Apollinaire described L'Oiseau bleu as a 'very brilliant painting' and 'his most important work to date'. L'Oiseau bleu, acquired by the City of Paris in 1937, forms part of the permanent collection at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
La danse is an oil painting created circa 1906 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). Bacchante is a pre-Cubist or Proto-Cubist work executed in a highly personal Divisionist style during the height of the Fauve period. Bacchante was painted in Paris at a time when Metzinger and Robert Delaunay painted portraits of one another, exhibiting together at the Salon d'Automne and the Berthe Weill gallery. Bacchante was exhibited in Paris during the spring of 1907 at the Salon des Indépendants, along with Coucher de soleil and four other works by Metzinger.
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