Biography of Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979)

Artist of Russian origin and settled in Paris, born in Gradzihsk (Ukraine) on November 14, 1885. From 1903 to 1905 he/she studied drawing in Karlsruhe, until it comes to Paris, where he/she attends the Academy of the palette and begins to make prints. In 1907 his work has a strong influence of Van Gogh and Gauguin. In 1908 he/she made his first individual exhibition in the Gallery of our Lady of the fields in Paris. The following year he/she married Robert Delaunay, with who will be until the latter's death.

In 1911 made his first abstract work in fabric (a blanket for her son Carlos). From here take advantage of simultaneous contrast fabrics and makes studies of light and movement; in 1914, the war surprised them in Spain, and seven years pass between Spain and Portugal. Study the movements of the dance (tango and flamenco) and makes the dancers (1917) series. The Russian Revolution deprived it of its incomes but, thanks to his talent, and his relationship with Diaghilev, is launched successfully into the world of decoration and fashion, becoming the Decorator of the Spanish aristocracy. In 1920 he/she made suits for the Verdi Aida at the Liceo, and their works in Portugal are exposed at the Der Sturm Gallery in Berlin.

In 1921 they returned to Paris and engage in relationship with the literary Vanguard (great friendship with Tristan Tzara). Performs simultaneous fabric designs and works in fashion. In 1931 he/she returned to devote themselves almost exclusively to painting, which led him to be integrated into architecture objects during the following years, such as neon signs, monumental doors and large murals.

After the death of Robert in 1941 performs works jointly with Arp and Magnelli (lithographs published in 1950); in 1944 it decorates the International Red Cross Center in Toulouse. In 1945 he/she exhibited with the concrete art group, in the Paris Drouim Gallery, and the following year he/she organized the first major retrospective of Robert Delaunay. In 1953 is a member of the newly founded space group and thereafter will participate in the largest artistic manifestations around the world. In 1958 he/she exhibited two hundred works in the Museum in Bielefeld and published in "Art today" color dancing, fifty years of research. The following year is an exhibition retrospective of his work and the Robert in the Museum of Lyon. From now on will be devoted heavily to the illustration of literary works. In 1974 he/she exhibits his masterpieces at the Museum of Grenoble and the following year held an exhibition tribute to Sonia Delaunay at the National Museum of modern art in Paris.

In 1977 it makes the Delaunay donation to the National Library of Paris; 1979 Sonia-Robert Delaunay takes place in the retrospective at the National Museum of modern art in Tokyo. He/She died, on 5 December 1979, in his studio in Paris.


Robert and Sonia Delaunay, catalogue exhibition FundaciĆ³n Juan March, Madrid, 1982