Sonia Delaunay

Inspiration in our daily lives can come from numerous sources. Color, texture and pattern are abundant in our environment, whether dancing shadows as the sun hits the leaves of a tree, or an industrial grating, with intensity and rhythmic pattern. I recently came across a book published as part of an exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Museum on the work of Sonia Delaunay titled Color Moves: Art & Fashion by Sonia Delaunay. Her studies in pattern and texture as a painter extended into varied medium and in turn, expression. It is wonderful to see through her eyes the design process as it evolved investigating the relationship of pattern, color and movement.
‘Painter, textile and stage designer and co-conspirator (with her husband Robert Delaunay) of the Orphist movement, Sonia Delaunay is a heroine of early modernist art and design. Known primarily as an abstract painter and colorist, Delaunay applied her talents and theories to all areas of visual expression, including graphics, interiors, theater and film, fashion and textiles. A characteristic of Delaunay work is a vivid sense of movement and rhythm through careful color combination.
Color Moves: Art & Fashion by Sonia Delaunay focuses not only on her art but also her avant-garde fashion designs for her Atelier Simultane in Paris during the 1920s, as well as textiles she designed for the Metz & Co department store in Amsterdam in the 1930s.The book features essays by Delaunay experts Matteo de Leeuw-de Monti, Matilda McQuaid and Petra Timmer, accompanied by more than 300 paintings, drawings, designs, textiles, garments and photographs.’

An accomplished and celebrated artist, ‘Sonia Delaunay claimed the first retrospective for a living female artist at the Louvre. She described her textiles as mere “exercises in color” that informed her true passion, painting. But her work in fashion and the applied arts, via her Maison Delaunay design atelier, may well be her broader legacy.’

Images and excerpts “Color Moves: The Art and Fashion of Sonia Delaunay,” 2011, at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

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Department of Islamic Art Opens at the Louvre

We are familiar with  I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid at the Louvre, the iconic glass and steel pyramid which creates a central focal point, and defines entry for the museum. This week, a second sculptural piece of contemporary architecture opens in celebration of the new Department of Islamic Arts. Fluid in form and offering an amazing light quality to the gallery space below, this new addition celebrating a rich history of art and artifact is a dynamic addition to the museum’s historic Cour Visconti courtyard.

‘The new Department of Islamic Arts is designed by Milanese architect Mario Bellini and his French colleague Rudy Ricciotti, who won the commission through an international competition in 2005. Similar to I.M. Pei, the pair created a naturally lit, subterranean gallery space beneath an undulating, glass roof within the courtyard of the historic Cour Visconti.” ”The golden roof billows up from waist level at the edges to about 22 feet close to the center. At first glance it looks gauzy enough to blow away in a heavy wind, but according to members of the architectural team who were working at the site, it weighs 150 tons and has been painstakingly fashioned from almost 9,000 steel tubes that form an interior web, over which are a layer of glass and, on top of that, a shimmering anodized gold surface.” nytimes

The new gallery houses many works of art which have not been on display for decades.  Many famous and important pieces are on exhibit, part of a collection which reflects craftsmanship and history of the 7th through the 19th centuries. Arranged chronologically, the exhibit includes ‘glass works, ceramics, metalwork, books, manuscripts, textiles and carpets.’

I embrace the philosophy that the growth of the museum and the supporting contemporary architecture is as important a consideration as the treasures displayed within. These built structures, displays of art themselves, define human interaction with these exhibits, becoming an integral part of the visitor’s experience. I look forward to a Paris sojourn, to take in this magnificent cultural happening.


Images and excerpts sourced at archdaily. Additional excerpts sourced at nytimes as noted.

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