Inspiration: Sonia Delaunay

Here's another artist I'm learning about right now. 
 Sonia Delaunay was born in the Ukraine in 1885, into a poor family. She went to live with her wealthy uncle when she was a little girl, and was well-educated by them, and they eventually adopted her. She went to school in Germany, then convinced her aunt and uncle to send her to art school in Paris.

 She married a gay art collector friend, Wilhelm Uhde, in order to stay in Paris. Her aunt and uncle wanted her to return to St Petersburg, marry and live the life of a wealthy aristocrat. She wanted none of it. Soon, she started exhibiting her work. Within a year she met Robert Delaunay, divorced Uhde, and married Robert. They had a baby, Charles, in 1911. She made him a 'modernist' baby quilt, which began her explorations with fabric. However, Robert's career often took precedence over hers.

Sonia started designing clothing around 1912. She continued exhibiting her work. In 1917, the Russian Revolution caused funding from her uncle to abruptly end. She launched a fashion business to make money. She designed the interior of a nightclub,and opened a shop, selling her fabrics to interior decorators.

 In the early 1920s she designed her first coats in wool tapestry. Movie starts were soon seen wearing her creations. She designed furniture for film sets.

 Here's a costume she designed for the opera Cleopatra  in 1917. She designed costumes for other ballets and operas as well.
But the great depression wiped out her fashion business. She resumed painting.

 Her husband Robert, became sick and died in 1941.
After Robert's death, she went to live with artist friends hiding out in the countryside of southern France. After the war, she resumed her career and exhibited her work regularly.

She continued to exhibit her work all over the world, and had retrospective exhibits in Antwerp, the US, and Japan. She won many awards. 
Sonia passed away in 1979.


  1. She sound like a great subject, I want to be her when I grow up!

  2. Thank you for introducing me to this resilient artist.

  3. Hi Kieren - There is a biography I read on her a few years back which you would enjoy. As always, the past is fascinating. Her color sense was fab. Have a great day.

  4. Thanks for all the comments, folks. Reading about Sonia has been great fun. The stack of books by my bed is getting higher and higher! If only I wasn't under such a tight deadline,I'd be savoring it even more.


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