Sonia Delaunay, Coloured Rhythm
Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979)

Coloured Rhythm, c. 1917

Coloured crayons on paper, H. 90 mm; W. 120 mm

On the back: certificate of Charles Delaunay

Provenance: Private collection, France

One of the pioneers of Abstraction, Sonia Delaunay was originally from Russia and spent her childhood in St. Petersburg. On her arrival in Paris in 1905 she discovered the paintings of the Fauves and Gauguin’s work. Following their examples, she soon began to experiment with using flat areas of pure colour. Her work turned towards coloured expressionism, with discordant contrasts of warm and cold shades.

In 1907, she met Robert Delaunay who became her artistic partner and husband. As early as 1912 their work moved towards abstraction. They explored using contrasts created by the juxtaposition of colours. The Delaunays proclaimed the birth of a new global art that rested on the constructive and dynamic power of colour: “simultanism”.

Between 1914 and 1921, they worked in Portugal and in Spain. A privileged observer of Flamenco dances, Sonia Delaunay depicted musicians and singers who radiated at the centre of a myriad of concentric coloured circles. The circular compositions and arrangement of colours emphasize the impression of movement.