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Sonia Delaunay at Tate Modern

The first UK Sonia Delaunay (1885 – 1979) retrospective is now open at the Tate Modern, London 15 April to 9 August 2015. The abstract artist and joint founder of the ‘Simultaneism’ movement was a key figure of the 20th century Parisian avant-garde. This major show represents her considerable body of radical designs for fashion and textiles for interiors, alongside paintings that chart her practice from early figurative works to energetic 1960s abstracts.

Yellow-Nude-1908

Sonia Delaunay Yellow Nude 1908 Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Nantes © Pracusa 2014083

Stitching and textiles played an important role throughout Delaunay’s creative career. The patchwork cradle cover that she made for her son in 1911 is considered her first abstract work. Her designs for lampshades, cushions and other items adorned the Parisian apartment that she shared with her artist husband, Robert Delaunay which helped to establish it as a popular meeting point for their contemporary artists and poets.

Electric-Prisms-1914

Sonia Delaunay Electric Prisms 1914 Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (RMN) © Pracusa 2014083

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay

Unique handcrafted creations such as the expressive Foliage Embroidery use thread in a painterly manner. Original designs for her more widely available furnishing fabrics that scroll on rollers in a shop window setting demonstrate her commercially minded creativity and expansive oeuvre. A 1925 fashion video projection playfully brings her scarves and outfits to life.

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay

Discs, a 1968 handknotted carpet woven in a Spanish technique closely echoes the dynamic swirls of the 1939 painting Rhythm Colour no. 1076 with a minimalist twist. The relentless experimentation with shape and colour that defines Delaunay’s work led to an innate knowledge of graphic effects that translate spectacularly to cloth- something that, refreshingly, is given much credit in the Tate Modern exhibition.

Sonia Delaunay

Discs, 1968, handknotted carpet, wool, 1.63 x 2.3 m, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

reRhythm-Colour-no.-1076-1939

Sonia Delaunay Rhythm Colour no. 1076 1939 Centre National des Arts Plastiques/Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, on loan to Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille © Pracusa 2014083

Sonia-Delaunay-and-two-friends

Sonia Delaunay and two friends in Robert Delaunay’s studio, rue des Grands-Augustins, Paris 1924 Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

Simultaneous-Dresses-(The-three-women)

Sonia Delaunay Simultaneous Dresses (The three women) 1925 Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid © Pracusa 2014083

Coat-made-for-Gloria-Swanson-1923-4

Sonia Delaunay Coat made for Gloria Swanson 1923-24 Private Collection © Pracusa 2014083

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay

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