Tag Archives: fabric design

Artistic Endeavors – Sonia Delaunay

Since I had mentioned Sonia Delaunay in an earlier post I decided to give her a post of her own. In the course of her long life (1885 to 1979) she collaborated with famous artists and poets in 1920s Paris; painted, designed fabrics, clothing and costumes; and co-founded an art movement. And she was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964.

She claimed a quilt she made for her son was the origin of the Simultanism movement. That name comes from the work of French scientist Michel Eugène Chevreul who identified the phenomenon of ‘simultaneous contrast’, in which colors look different depending on the colors around them. For example, a gray will look lighter on a dark background than it does on a light one.

In Delaunay’s words, “About 1911 I had the idea of making for my son, who had just been born, a blanket composed of bits of fabric like those I had seen in the houses of Russian peasants. When it was finished, the arrangement of the pieces of material seemed to me to evoke cubist conceptions and we then tried to apply the same process to other objects and paintings.”

There have been at least two important exhibits of Delaunay’s work since her death.  The one held at the Tate Modern in 2015 is the latest one I found. The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt’s 2011 exhibit is discussed in a video of the talk given by Dr. Sherry Buckberrough, a Delaunay scholar. Another video gives a slide show of Delaunay’s work.

I want to focus on her clothing and fabric designs as I see lots of inspiration in them for quilts. More practically, they are how Delaunay supported her family. I took photos of designs that caught my eye from “Sonia Delaunay: Art Into Fashion,” 1986, George Braziller, Inc.

First up, clothing designs that women in the 1920s wore. Delaunay also designed theatrical costumes.


Next, ideas for quilting designs.

Finally, ideas for quilt compositions.

And one I’d love to have as a scarf.


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