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The art of Sonia Delaunay knows no limits. Recognised as one of the founders of Orphism, an art movement that favoured the use of strong colours and geometric shapes, Delaunay’s work transcends the canvas to textile, theatre and interior design. The Tate Modern is now exhibiting the works of Sonia Delaunay who was a pivotal member in the avant-garde movement of the early 20th century.

The artist’s work is characterised by a fusion of primary and secondary colours that form abstract circles, squares and triangles. Delaunay is also known for her experimentation with colour; the result is an almost psychedelic mosaic of vibrant shades and shapes that easily lend themselves to textiles. The fluidity of Delaunay’s designs meant that her art translated perfectly to womenswear; she soon began dressing the stars of her time, creating custom scarves, dresses and coats. One piece that especially stands out is the custom-made coat for Gloria Swanson that consists of inter-locking blocks of rust, amber and coral, embodying the glamour of the 1920s.

That’s not to say that Sonia Delaunay’s designs would look out of place today, there is a definite timelessness to her paintings and textiles. The aesthetic is simple yet effective and stands the test of time, making Delaunay one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century. See the kaleidoscopic prints for yourself at the Tate Modern, London until the 9th of August.

WORDS
LOWRI HILL

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