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Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979) was a multi-disciplinary abstract artist and key figure in the Parisian avant-garde. Alongside her husband, Robert Delaunay, she pioneered the movement Simultanism, a style of Cubist painting. The name comes from the work of French scientist Michel Eugène Chevreul who identified the phenomenon of ‘simultaneous contrast’ in which colors look different depending on the colors around them. Her exploration of the interaction between colors has created a sense of depth and movement throughout her oeuvre. Delaunay’s creativity expanded beyond painting to include many other outlets such as Casa Sonia, an interior and fashion boutique that she set up in 1918. The entire set and costume design of Tristan Tzara’s 1923 play Le Cœur à Gaz; An illustration for the cover of Vogue in 1926; Costumes for the films Le Vertige directed by Marcel L’Herbier and Le p’tit Parigot, directed by René Le Somptier; Furniture for the set of the 1929 film Parce que je t’aime; And her textiles label Tissus Delaunay, which sold her designs worldwide.


As well as a major retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Bielefeld in 1958, Delaunay was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964. She has also had her work shown at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Musée National d’Art Moderne and Tate Modern.

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