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