This painting is sold with a photo-certificate from Richard Riss.
Portrait de Madame Minsky belongs to the group of vibrant, colourist portraits that Sonia Delaunay executed in the years following her arrival in Paris in 1905. In her early twenties, she enrolled at the Académie de la Palette in Montparnasse, but found the greatest stimulus in exhibitions of avant-garde art that were taking place in Paris at the time, including the 1905 exhibition at the Salon d'Automne of works by the artists who would come to be knows as Les fauves.
In its bold outlines, vibrant colours and fauve green shadows, the Portrait de Madame Minsky shows how the artist integrated these lessons into her own work. Delaunay has restricted her palette almost down to primary colours alone, the reds, blues and yellows which 'are the colors from my childhood, from the Ukraine. Memories of peasant weddings in my country, in which the red and green dresses decorated with many ribbons, billowed in dance' (quoted in exh. cat. Sonia Delaunay, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 1980, p. 213).
Fittingly, she has used these 'colours from the Ukraine' to depict a compatriot, Madame Minsky, another Russian-Jewish exile in Paris. The wife of Nicolai Minsky, a Symbolist writer and poet, she had left Russia with her husband after the brutal Czarist crushing of the 1905 Revolution, and after settling in Paris, Minsky continued to write poems in both Russian and French. Further artistic collaboration between the artist and poet is manifest in Delaunay's execution in 1912-1913 of two collages on the cover of Minsky's Poésies complètes, Tome IV, Chansons d'amour (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; inv. AM144OA).