• Sonia Delaunay

  • Art that meets fashion.

Sonia Delaunay

Art that meets fashion.

Sonia Delaunay - L'arte che incontra la moda

Sonia Delaunay

Art meets fashion

SONIA TERK DELAUNAY (Hradyzk 1885 - Paris 1979)
La fantasia nell’eleganza.

The review that we present is dedicated to the fashion creations of Sonia Delaunay , a nonconformist and multifaceted artist who revolutionized the history of art, fashion and costume of the last century.

On display 27 lithographs, made with the pochoir technique, taken from the silohuettes made by Sonia Delaunay between 1919 and 1928 in her Atelier Simultané in Paris and published in the artist's book "Tableaux vivants" by the publisher and gallery owner Jacques Damase.

Sonia felt the constant need to bring art into any aspect of daily life. An all-round artist, difficult to categorize, whose work goes far beyond simple painting. His research on colors and shapes was manifested in graphics, decoration, furniture and, above all, in fashion. “ There are no differences between my painting and my, so-called, decorative works. Minor art must never be considered an art of frustration but a free expansion, a conquest of new spaces. It is the application of research itself ”. (1)

Strongly inspired by Orphic Cubism, Sonia's simultaneous dresses are made up of simple shapes and a straight cut to bring out the color, the undisputed protagonist of her creations.

In his clothes, abstract art becomes something concrete and absolutely understandable to a wider and heterogeneous public.

In 1911 the artist created a small blanket for his son with his own hands: a cubist-style patchwork , made with scraps of fabrics of different colors and materials. Around those years he began making upholstery, books, hats, umbrellas and even car interiors.

Sonia soon understood that her painting could also be applied to clothing. It will be she herself, in 1913, to wear her clothes at the Bal Bullier , a Parisian ballroom that she and her husband Robert frequented regularly, a symbolic place, a real meeting and comparison point between artists and poets of the time .
In 1923 a silk manufacturer from Lyon commissioned fifty drawings from her and the following year she opened the Atelier Simultané , on Boulevard Malesherbes . The fabrics that make up the clothes are characterized by lively textures depicting compositions of rectangles, circles, regular and irregular geometric figures, lines and splashes of color. The linear and uncut shape of the 1920s dress was perfect for this type of silohuettes : it did not interrupt the design and allowed the colors to create the desired dynamic effects on moving bodies.

The images on display testify to the mood of a free and passionate artist, and at the same time highlight the conscious research on the motif, studied in its innumerable variations of tone, rhythm, vibration and form. Fabrics and dresses all obey the same principle: the balance of volume and color. Sonia Delaunay loved to define color "the skin of this world of ours" a world that she herself tried to improve, "restoring happiness", as Damase writes: "The twentieth century linked the world to the conventions and greyness it imposed, we witnessed to the birth of generations that almost from the cradle wore a darker mourning than that of a horse in a hearse. What mysterious fear forced the world to deprive itself of the color, the forbidden fruit, the taboo, from which Sonia Delaunay was the first to free us? ". (2)

His work undoubtedly contributed to the evolution of clothing and taste in modern furniture and the chromatic revolution that ensued is still a source of inspiration for many stylists today. He collaborated with Chanel, Heim, Lanvin and dressed famous actresses such as Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson.

"Sonia Delaunay does not consider familiar things, the things of life, inferior as content to the paintings that made her known ... I still want to thank her for having abolished this prejudice, for loving life, and for giving us masterpieces that make our gestures more beautiful. newspapers ”, (3) this is how René Crevel summarizes his entire artistic career.

Sonia Delaunay has redefined the very concept of the “modern woman”, attempting to reverse gender separation in a world dominated by men. Hers is the story of a strong and exuberant woman who has seen art in everything and who has been able to overcome family and financial crises and two world wars, never giving up and instead continuing to reinvent herself, rising from her failures like the phoenix. to color his world (and that of others) with the colors of his soul.

Sonia Terk (later Delaunay) was born in 1885 in Ukraine, she initially studied in St. Petersburg but in 1906 she moved to Paris, where she began to paint influenced by Paul Gaugin, Vincent Van Gogh and the Fauves . In 1909 he met Robert Delaunay and immediately became a great love. They married the following year, giving life to a real artistic partnership, in a Paris in full swing. They theorize the pictorial movement of Orphic Cubism or Orphism, which saw color as the protagonist of their artistic research; they work on complementary colors, which when combined with each other illuminate each other giving the sensation of movement and the possibility of representing what was called "the third dimension" that is time. At the outbreak of the First World War, Sonia and Robert are on vacation in Spain. They decide not to return to Paris, but to stay on the Iberian Peninsula, using isolation to focus on their work. Sonia refuses to limit herself to painting, taking orphism beyond the confines of the canvas. In 1917 he will perform, for Sergei Diaghilev, the wonderful costumes for Russian ballets, thus giving shape to his great passion for fabrics. In Madrid, in this same period, he begins to dress the Spanish high society. Upon returning to Paris he opens his Atelier Simultané , a laboratory where his art expands to fabrics, tapestries, interior design and clothing in perfect creative harmony. A series of personal and economic events, especially following the crisis of '29, will lead her to close the atelier but she will continue to devote herself to fashion even afterwards.
In 1941 her husband Robert died. Within a few years the creative genius of Sonia Dealunay was fully recognized: she was the first woman to whom a retrospective was dedicated at the Louvre in 1964 and to be decorated with the French Legion of Honor in 1975. She died in Paris in 1979, after having received awards and gratifications in contemporary art museums around the world and having influenced generations of stylists.

(1) (2) (3) Jacques Damase, Guillame Apollinaire and Blaise Cendras, “Tableaux vivants”, Daniel Jacomet of Paris, 1969.

-Jacques Damase, Guillame Apollinaire and Blaise Cendras, “Tableaux vivants”, Daniel Jacomet of Paris, 1969.
-Jacques Damase, Sonia Delaunay 1925. Robes et gouaches simultanées. L'art et le corps, rythmes - couleurs en mouvement, 1974.
-Marina Bairrao, Ruivo and Matteo Bianchi, Sonia Delaunay. Atelier Simultané 1923 -1934, Pages of Art, 2006.

Original prints (silography, burin, drypoint, etching, aquatint, lithography, serigraphy, etc.) are to be considered proofs pulled in black and color from one or more plates conceived by the artist himself, whatever technique was used to make them. In the 20th century many of the traditional techniques have undergone variations due to the improvement of technology and the artists' desire to experiment with new forms of expression, so that in the original prints we encounter techniques with a photographic or heliographic basis, up to elaborations of images made with the aid of computers. These peculiarities are indicated in the technical sheets of the work. Japanese prints do not follow these rules: the artist would make a drawing on very thin paper, expressly for engraving this would be pasted upside down on the plate, which would then be engraved by the hori-cho (silograph), under the control of the artist. One plate was engraved for each color. Status is a voluntary change to the plate, while variant is an accidental change to the plate or refers to the quality or paper. The quality or beauty of the impression is independent of the state, preservation, rarity, subject, and author (a late proof of last state, if printed with care, may be of high quality; and it is understood that the quality is high or low within the same print run). The adjectives in international use to define quality are, in descending order: superb, splendid, magnificent, beautiful, fair, mediocre, tired, and poor. For modern and contemporary prints, when they are not proofs or undocumented runs but specimens belonging to a print run, in which the first specimen and the last have no difference in quality, these are referred to as "perfect specimens." For Japanese prints, color quality is indicated by the following adjectives in descending order: brilliant, excellent, good, fair, pale. The existence or non-existence of the signature is always mentioned. It should be remembered, however, that this, is of no use either in the certification of authenticity or in attribution. So the attribution of a print to an author, unlike that of a drawing or painting, being imprinted in several copies can be considered, published work and therefore of certain author and documented. For antique and Japanese prints, it is difficult to speak of a print run since they were generally printed according to demand. In addition to the two major divisions, coeval and late, prints were printed at different times according to demand. A current edition means a large print run, sometimes over a thousand copies, desired by the author and publisher, often as an out-of-text table in books or art magazines. Not are to be considered artistically minor works; many have had a parallel luxury edition. Rarity is due either to the few impressions made, or to the law of supply-demand, and still the quality of preservation is indicated by the following phrases in descending order: in exceptional state of preservation, in perfect state of preservation (except...), in good state of preservation (except...). Margins are classified as follows: very thin up to 1 mm, thin from 1 to 2 mm, small from 2 to 4 mm.good from 4 to 15 mm, wide over 15 mm, intact is a sheet that retains the measurements in which it was made or printed, with editorial meaning a sheet that has been marketed without margins or with a precise paper size chosen by the artist in consultation with the publisher. The measurements are all in millimeters, height to base, refer for cable prints (etchings, burins,...) to the copperplate impression, for silographs to the marginal line and, in the absence of these, to the sheet, for lithographs and serigraphs refer to the image and not to the sheet. Sometimes catalogs raisonné report slightly different measurements, this may depend on the measuring criteria or the elasticity of the paper which, depending on the temperature/humidity of the environments in which it was stored or the pressure of the press, shrinks or widens. The authenticity of the original prints and their correspondence to the characteristics described in our "declaration of authenticity" will be issued upon purchase of each work.