Monday, July 11, 2011

Museum Visit: Sonia Delaunay at Cooper-Hewitt



Sonia Delaunay created a brilliant world of paintings, fashions, fabrics, costumes, and graphics and blurred the boundaries between them.

Sonia and her husband, the painter Robert Delaunay, were part of the Paris  artist community in the early 1910's.  They developed a theory of color they called Simultaneity. They felt a sensation of movement was created when certain contrasting colors were placed side by side. The forms they chose, were symbols of the modern world, streetlights, automobiles, airplanes.






Sonia was very creative and very ambitious. Her paintings were filled with bright colors, swirling circles, dots and dashes. When she opened her own fashion design workshop in Paris in the 1920's, the Atelier Simultane, she chose some of  the same bold, swirling designs for her fabrics and fashions. No-one had ever created "modern art" fashions before. 

Sonia's unique fabrics were soon discovered by Metz & Co. the department store in Amsterdam, well-known for its collections of the work of contemporary artists and designers.



Here is Sonia in her workshop, Atelier Simultan√©. 



 Sonia designed these fashions and fabrics...



























...Sonia painted this Citroen B12, for a publicity event


In the 1960's, Sonia's designs became bolder and bolder, more like modern paintings.












Sonia in her studio in the 1960's, in front of a wall of her designs. They look as new as the paintings of many contemporary artists today. 

Sonia's freedom to draw ideas for fabrics and paintings from the same bold sources, was unique. Her vision inspired many artists painting today.






The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum is located on East 91st Street and Fifth Avenue. The Museum showed Sonia Delaunay's paintings, fabric and fashion design, until June 5, 2011. It was an amazing exhibition that changed the way people define fabric design and contemporary painting. You will find a book, that documents the show, in the bookstore.




The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Museum of Design






Here is a project for children 
inspired by Sonia Delaunay's art.:

Create your own fabric 
Design a costume.








Materials you will need:

A roll of paper 24" wide?
Or fabric 36" wide?
A large piece of corrugated cardboard, 
to use as a solid base for painting the paper or fabric
Tempera paints, markers
or fabric paints for fabric 
Big foam brushes for tempera paint
or round bristle brushes for fabric paint.

A ribbon to tie the costume on,
accessories: a hat, an umbrella, a bag


Here's how to do it:






Measure child from shoulder to ankle. 30"?? 

Roll out length of paper, or fabric






Cut one length, 48"?
The length will become
 the front and back of the costume
with an opening for the head.

Get out the tempera paint and brushes.
Tape the corners of the paper or fabric, to the corrugated cardboard.

Paint some bold designs along the entire length of the paper. 

Allow to dry. 

Cut an opening (vertical/horizontal cross) in the middle.
It will be the opening for the head.
Put it on and tie it around the middle with a ribbon or belt.

Add accessories, a big umbrella, a funny hat, a bag. Makeup?

Pose some dramatic fashion photos. 
Print them and put them up on your gallery wall.


Bold Sonia Delaunay designs

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