Typed Letter Signed by the Ukrainian-French Artist and Fashion Designer, One of the Main Practitioners of Orphism, or Orphic Cubism

Signed by Sonia Delaunay

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Item: 20708
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DELAUNAY, SONIA. (1885-1979). Ukrainian-French artist and one of the main practitioners of orphism or orphic cubism. TLS. (“Sonia Delaunay”). With one sentence in holograph. 1p. 4to. Paris, May 8, 1959. On her blind-embossed stationery. To French critic, art collector and bibliophile NOËL ARNAUD (1919-2003). In French with translation.

I hereby acknowledge receipt of the notebook you sent to me. It’s exciting and I am very pleased to have it in my library. I would like to buy Nos. 3 and 4 and I would be very grateful if you could send them to me, [next clause in holograph:] I had it and it disappeared from my library.

I thank you in advance. I was very pleased to meet you and I send you, dear sir, my kindest regards…”

After receiving an extensive fine arts education in the Russian Empire and Germany, Sonia Terk moved to Paris in 1905. There she continued her studies while being exposed to the works of the post-impressionists and fauves. After a brief marriage of convenience to Wilhelm Uhde (gallery owner and future lover and mentor to Helmut Kolle), Sonia met artist and art theorist Robert Delaunay at Uhde’s gallery. The pair married as soon as Sonia could divorce Uhde and they became one of the most influential couples in the world of European art. With the birth of their son, Sonia was inspired to make a quilt similar to Ukrainian peasant quilts about which she said, “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,” (quoted in Manifestations of Venus, Arscott and Scott). She and Robert began to experiment with color, a process which they dubbed simultanéisme. Their friend, art critic Guillaume Apollinaire would later call their version of cubism “orphism.”

Rythme colore, Sonia Delaunay, 1952

With the Russian Revolution in 1917, monetary support from Sonia’s family disappeared and, faced with financial difficulties, Sonia designed costumes for Sergei Diaghilev and started her own fashion boutique whose prominent patrons included actress Gloria Swanson and heiress Nancy Cunard. “It was a matter of pride for her that her unmistakable imagery should be familiar to people all over Europe who had never seen one of her paintings. But in the 1930’s she went back to painting as her primary activity. With her unbounded energy and her outgoing and optimistic nature, she was a natural choice for the enormous decorations that were commissioned for the Paris Exhibition of 1937,” (“Sonia Delaunay, Artist, 94, Dies; Influenced 1920’s Fabric Designs,” New York Times).

Although she spent much of her life working to assure her husband’s artistic legacy, she held her own career retrospectives in 1967and 1975 at France’s Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne. The Delaunays’ orphism has been cited as an influence on Paul Klee, Alexander Calder and other major figures of modern art.

Arnaud was active in a number of post-dada and surrealist groups, editor of the magazines Situationist Times, du Petit Jésus and Dragée Haut and a collector of avant-garde art. His large book collection is now at Paris’ Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal.

Folded into quarters. In fine condition. With the original envelope. Uncommon.

Typed Letter Signed by the Ukrainian-French Artist and Fashion Designer, One of the Main Practitioners of Orphism, or Orphic Cubism

Signed by Sonia Delaunay

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