So­nia De­lau­nay, the Rus­sian born French artist, wanted to erase the bor­der­line be­tween art, de­sign and craft and in­te­grate art with ev­ery­day items such as fur­ni­ture, fab­rics, wall cov­er­ing and cloth­ing. She broke the tra­di­tional di­vi­sion be­tween fine art and ap­plied art and fused art to daily life in an un­prece­dented way. In pure art, she was a pioneer of ab­strac­tion that was start­ing be­fore WW1, play­ing a ma­jor role in ad­vanc­ing the bud­ding move­ment. The jux­ta­po­si­tion of her stark pure colours and geo­met­ric shapes had their roots in her Rus­sian ori­gins, and her paint­ing skills came from her rig­or­ous train­ing in Ger­many. She had to wait till the 1950s to get the recog­ni­tion she de­served for her con­tri­bu­tion to art, as she lived in the shadow of her hus­band Robert De­lau­nay, the ‘star’ of modernism.

So­nia De­lau­nay was born in 1885 into a poor fam­ily, in a small vil­lage in the Ukraine. But at an early age, she was adopted by her wealthy Rus­sian aunt and un­cle in Saint Peters­burg, where she was ex­posed to art in mu­se­ums and gal­leries. As she showed a tal­ent for draw­ing from an early age, she was sent to art schools in Ger­many and then in 1905 to Paris, also to study art.

In Paris, So­nia started ex­per­i­ment­ing with ‘Si­mul­tane­ity’, a con­cept based on a book called The Prin­ci­ples of Har­mony and Con­trast of Colours, which de­scribes the sen­sa­tion of move­ment pro­duced by jux­ta­pos­ing starkly con­trast­ing colours or

"Ry­thms-colour" 1965

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