Sonia Delaunay (1884-1979) and Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)

Magic City (recto); Portrait de Laurent Monnier (verso)

Sonia Delaunay (1884-1979) and Robert Delaunay (1885-1941)
Magic City (recto); Portrait de Laurent Monnier (verso)
oil on canvas
25¼ x 21 in. (64.1 x 53.3 cm.)
Painted in 1913 (recto); Painted in 1923-1924 (verso)
Estate of the artist.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
P. Francastel and G. Habasque, Robert Delaunay, Du Cubisme à l'Art Abstrait, Paris, 1957, no. 216.
Sonia Delaunays Welt der Kunst, exh. cat., Kunsthalle Bielefeld, 2008, p. 56 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

Richard Riss has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.

Magic City is an important, rare early work in Sonia Delaunay's oeuvre. Named after an immense dance-hall in Paris on the Rue de l'Université near the Eiffel Tower, Magic City was known for its flamboyant partygoers and extravagant balls. Delaunay, along with many young artists, were drawn to Magic City during it's heyday at the turn of the century.

Delaunay, one of the pioneers of Orphism, focused on the study of forms in movement throughout her career. Taking inspiration from the dance-hall's energetic atmosphere, Magic City demonstrates Delaunay striving to convey the impression of simultaneous movement and conjure up rhythm through the manipulation of coloristic effects. Inspired by the principals of color first put forth by Eugène Chevreul in his 1830 treatise De la loi du contraste simultané des couleurs et de l'assortiment des objets colorés, Delaunay can be seen here to use powerful, luminous color to achieve immediacy and spontaneity. Delaunay often began by defining a vibrantly colored center circle. The curved forms, radiating out, together achieve a sense of depth and intensity.

The verso of this painting depicts a portrait of Laurent Monnier by Sonia Delaunay's husband Robert Delaunay.

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