Untitled, 1927
Gouache on paper
10 x 9 cm
About Both prolific and innovative, Sonia Delaunay was one of the key female artists of European avantgarde.
For a lifetime she has experimented with the language of colour in her search of pure painting.
A versatile artist, she aimed at bringing art back into contact with the everyday through fashion, theatre, drawing and painting.
More than any other media, textiles proved her idea that colour was “the skin of the world,” and for more than forty years, she designed and produced textiles that were commercially successful and enormously influential.

Sonia Delaunay was born in 1885 in Gradiesk, Ukraine, as Sonia Terk Stern.
She was raised in St. Petersburg and soon developed a strong aptitude for art. She studied drawing at the Academie of Karlsruhe, then in 1905 she moved to Paris, where she attended the Académie de la Palette and started painting under the influence of post-impressionism.
In 1908 she showed her works at Wilhelm Uhde’s gallery, whom she married the following year. This was a short-lasting marriage, and in 1910 the artist married Robert Delaunay. Together they started a research on light and colour that would come at Orphism movement.

Since 1910 she dedicated herself to the study of light and of applied arts, focusing her attention to the simultaneous contrasts and to the refraction of light on various supports, also experimenting the collage.
In 1913 she had a show at the Erster Deutscher Herbstsalon, then took part in an important group show dedicated to the international avantgardes hosted at the Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin and the following year in the Salon des Indépendants in Paris.
She had different solo shows in various European venues and took part in the major cutting-edge exhibitions. After the October Revolution she stopped receiving the inheritance that assured her family economic stability, and her commitment to the arts became more constant.

She designed ballet sets for Sergej Diaghilev (Cléopâtre, 1917) and for the pièce by Tristan Tzara Le coeur à gaz (1923), she started making clothes, fabrics and tapestries and worked in the industrial design field.
In 1925 she had big success at the International Show of Decorative Arts in Paris, in the same year she opened a store selling clothes and accessories with the designer Jacques Heim.

In the Thirties she joined the group Abstraction-Création and partecipated at their shows. ln 1937 she worked with Robert Delaunay for the decorations of the Exposition Universelle in Paris and the following year the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam dedicated to her a wide retrospective exhibition.
After the war she took part in the foundation of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, conceived for the promotion of various international artistic movements.

As well as a major retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Bielefeld in 1958 (and 2008), Delaunay was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964.
She was acknowledged several awards for her fundamental contribution to the diffusion of the European avant-garde in the field of applied arts.
She died in Paris in 1979.

In 2012 the Giò Marconi Gallery and the Marconi Foundation presented the exhibition Sonia Delaunay. Atelier simultané 1923-1934 together with a show by Kerstin Brätsch.
Several venues have hosted her work, among them: the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York (2011), the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2014) and the Tate Modern, London (2015) and the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (2017).