SONIA DELAUNAY (1884-1979)
SONIA DELAUNAY (1884-1979)
SONIA DELAUNAY (1884-1979)
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SONIA DELAUNAY (1884-1979)

Contrastes simultanés

SONIA DELAUNAY (1884-1979)
Contrastes simultanés
signed with initials, dated and numbered 'SD. 13 No. 798.' (lower right)
watercolor on paper
17 1/4 x 21 1/2 in. (43.8 x 54.6 cm.)
Painted in 1913
Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich.
Erna and Curt Burgauer, Zurich (acquired from the above, 1965); sale, Christie's, London, 30 April 1999, lot 138.
Private collection, Switzerland (acquired at the above sale); sale, Christie's, London, 28 February 2018, lot 296.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Zurich, Gimpel & Hanover Galerie and London, Gimpel Fils Gallery, Sonia Delaunay, October 1965-February 1966, no. 16.
Paris, Musée national d'art moderne, Rétrospective Sonia Delaunay, December 1967-January 1968, p. 40, no. 46 (illustrated, p. 43).
Further details
Jean-Louis Delaunay and Richard Riss have confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Lot Essay

The present work belongs to the series Contrastes simultanés that Delaunay began in 1912. Executed in 1913, it is one of the last of the series dating from the period when the artist was beginning to combine her theories of color with the linguistic influence of her new friend and associate, the poet Blaise Cendrars. The title of the series derives from M.E. Chevreul's treatise on color, De la loi du contraste simultané des couleurs, but these works are also closely related to the exploratory forms of her husband Robert's series Formes circulaires.
The Contrastes simultanés demonstrate an intersection of theories that would span both the modern and contemporary era of artistic exploration. Delaunay’s incorporation of text into abstraction as a means of blending word and color into one simultaneous poetic expression touches upon ideas that would not become widely practiced until the pioneering work of text-based conceptual artists such as Ed Ruscha and John Baldessari, more than half a century later. Her theories of Simultanéisme also speak to the interrelation of emotion and color, the sort of synesthesia-based ideology that inspired Wassily Kandinsky and his Blaue Reiter. Given her almost prescient ability to forge ahead and test the limits of modernity, it is unsurprising that in 1964 Delaunay was the first living female artist to have her own retrospective at the Louvre.
By her own estimation, the merit of the Contrastes simultanés series lay in “the pure colors becoming planes and opposing each other by simultaneous contrasts [creating] for the first time new constructed forms not through chiaroscuro but through the depth of colour itself" (quoted in Programme du théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 1926-1927).

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