I had a wonderfully fun-filled time this weekend… catch ups with old friends, excitable puppies, Pimms on South Bank and a meal out or two… but one of the absolute highlights of the weekend was my trip to the Sonia Delaunay exhibition at Tate Modern. A curator friend of mine spotted it and thought it would well worth a visit for rag rug inspiration – boy was he right!
So I don’t want to give too much away (some of you may well be planning to go yourselves) but a little background never hurts.
Sonia Delaunay had a rather unusual upbringing. Born in 1885 to jewish parents in Odessa, Sonia was soon adopted by a wealthy uncle in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her uncle was a key member of the St. Petersburg bourgeoisie so Sonia was exposed to museums, galleries and intellectual circles from a young age. She attended the Art Academy in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1904 then moved to Paris two years later. It was in Paris that her life as an artist really began.
Sonia was extremely forward thinking for her time. Her art was bold, colourful and challenging. Although her pieces (Sonia didn’t just stick to “traditional” formats) pop with colour, one of the most exciting parts of the exhibition is you can see how her work changed over the years. Early pieces (such as Young Finnish Woman) seem to be somewhat influenced by Paul Gauguin and the German expressionists where as later work touched upon simultanism, decorative art and abstraction.
Whatever she turned her hand to, Sonia Delaunay was a talented artist, business woman and human being. Head over to Tate Modern if you can – it’s well worth a visit! Below are some of my favourite pieces: