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Sonia Delaunay-Terk

Gradižsk 1885 - Paris 1979


Sonia Delaunay-Terk, maiden name Stern, was born in Gradižsk in the Ukraine in 1885. She discovered her vocation for art at an early age and studied drawing at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe between 1903 and 1905. Then she moved to Paris. During her schooling there at the Académie de la Palette she made works which are clearly influenced by Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and the Fauves . Her marriage with Robert Delaunay, an ambitious artist of the Parisian Avant-garde, was determined by a mutual inspiration to colourful compositions. Both artists intensively dealt with the depiction of light and movement and found a new artistic form of expression on the base of a simultaneous contrast. Sonia Delaunay's paintings were preceded by numerous colour studies, which dealt with the problem of light, colour and movement. Her painting 'Bal Bullier' from 1913 transferred the image of rhythmic dance moves into circling forms, which were mixed in the centre of the painting with pure colours. The transfer of this artistic aim to every-day life, from fashion design, interior decoration to book design made the artist one of the most important members of the Art-Déco movement. In 1913 the first so-called 'simultaneous dresses' were executed, which inspired the poet Blaise Cendrars to her poem 'Sur la robe elle a un corps'. After spending some time in Portugal in 1914 Delaunay and her family lived in Madrid. Here she met Sergei Diaghilew (1872-1929), for whose 'Ballets Russes' she designed the costumes and the stage sets. She returned to Paris after the end of World War I., where she made the sets for Dadaist plays and films. The decoration of a pavilion at the World Exhibition in 1937 was a joint highlight in the couple's artistic career. Sonia Delaunay received the gold medal for her fresco 'Portugal' at the 'Pavillon des Chemins de Fer'. After world war II. she attended increasingly to painting and painted during an intensive and powerful period of creativity the large series 'Rhythme', 'Rhythme coloré' and 'Rhythmes-couleurs'. Sonia Delauney died in Paris in 1979.


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