Sonia Delaunay’s absorbing aesthetics in art and fashion

May 4, 2015

They say that fashion and art are usually very different things, yet of course we know that cannot be true, mainly because of the intrinsic aesthetic values that they share so fully and totally. When we speak of fashion, Orphism, and even poetry Sonia Delaunay cannot be taken out of the picture of any such incidental discussion.

Many people do not know too much of Delaunay's genius which graced the ideals of art to the point of derision mainly because of her mix between lyrical poetry and aesthetic values were not entirely substantial in the norms of what women artists engaged in that period. Still there is a sense of respect that must be given to the first woman to be awarded an exhibition in the Louvre, and whose work has been exhibited in the Tate Modern countless times. Interestingly, she once said: “He who knows how to appreciate colour relationships, the influence of one colour on another, their contrasts and dissonances, is promised an infinitely diverse imagery.”

Delaunay’s upbringing was rocky in Russia at the turn of the century. She was born in a Jewish family, but really she was raised by her uncle, a successful lawyer in St. Petersburg. In her teenage years she would spend her time in art galleries, and always surrounded herself with art which prompted her to study it in Germany, and later in Paris, which at the time was undeniably the center of modern artistry. Her skills in those early days however did not lean towards paintings or colours, rather the simplistic yet still defined notions of drawing.

In Paris, Delaunay became exceptionally dissatisfied with the way in which art education transpired, yet she continued to study it closely and naturally became heavily influenced by the masters of post-impressionism. Interestingly however, she also got married to Wilhelm Uhlde, who owned an impressive art gallery. The imperceptible details of the marriage came to light later, pointed to the fact that it was mostly one that was not based of romantic love, rather one of friendship and common appreciation for art. Sonia married Uhlde to escape her parents’ wish to see her committed, while Uhlde did so in order to mask his homosexuality, as it is important not to forget that the times in 1908 were not so accepting. Sonia fell in love with the upcoming artist Robert Delaunay a year later which prompted her to divorce Uhlde.

“>call her line as “wearable art” due to their vibrancy.

Delauney’s genius of course was found in the persuasive use of substantial colors which graced her canvasses and clothes rather gallantly to the point of beauty in fact to an extent that would make anyone who would consider looking at eye-candy for a full show regardless of common collective bromides. More precisely, her piece entitled “Prismes Eleqtrique” which is perhaps a simple persuasion in vapid colours. Excess is perhaps the best example of the synthesis of high-fashion and art. Still the derision that is brought forth as a result of the ideals that have almost too much form, rhythmic functions, and other such artistic tenants. The issue here is that of words that have no reasoning regardless of the concepts brought forth in the societal functions of art.

From her garish textiles and dresses, to her simple drawings and sketches Delaunay always strove to better her work through beauty, and dedication to aesthetics above anything else. Her work in fashion although did not reach the peaks that it deserved was still indeed uncommon to the eyes of its viewers, but also has a salient role to tell us about her youthful and equally gaudy character. If it was not enough, for instance, after the Second World War, she decorated a Matra 750 in her later years, only to show that despite the changing times she still molded the world around her to her ostentatious tastes.

There is a sense of color, even emotions however shallow they may seem at first, that hits the viewer to the point that his/her ideas about the imperceptible nature of Delaunay’s canvases reaches a point where understanding ideals, or forms becomes totally deconstructive, regardless of the self-idealizations that one wishes to impose on the canvas itself- yet the honest truth is that the aesthetic values are in fact so thin that such ideals would seem totally and utterly superfluous. It really comes down to beauty. Vain, shallow beauty.

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