The Russian artist Sonia Delaunay, who with her husband Robert Delaunay was a leading light of the short-lived Cubist splinter movement, Orphism, branched out after the First World War into a distinctive career of her own. Between 1920 and 1930, she produced some of the most striking and original fabric designs of modern times. She was the inventor of abstract designs for fabrics, and her materials were the rage among fashionable circles in the Art Deco era.
Delaunay made imaginative waistcoats for Tristan Tzara, Louis Aragon, Rene Crevel and other Surrealist poets. She dressed Gloria Swanson and various French film stars, the unconventional socialite Nancy Cunard, and the wife of the Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer. She designed interiors in collaboration with the Paris architect Mallet-Stevens, and created costumes for the early films of Marcel L'Herbier. Her fabrics were sold by the most exclusive department stores in the world. Jean Cocteau and Blaise Cendrars wrote about her fashion designs. And her decorated scarves are known to have influenced the work of Paul Klee.
Jacques Damase, the French publisher and art historian, inherited Delaunay's original designs and fabric samples, many of which were photographed for the first time for this book. His personal, informative introduction is complemented by a selection of writings by Delaunay's contemporary admirers and critics. The result is a definitive record of this unusually talented artist's contribution to design - dazzling creations that are artworks in themselves.
'The jewel-like colours of her brilliant geometric designs are lavishly displayed, together with photographs, sketches and a text that explores her wide range of influence' Independent on Sunday
'For liveliness and inventiveness alone, Delaunay deserves a place in the art-history books ... her designs vibrate on the pages' Vogue
'Celebrates Delaunay's work both in its sumptuous colour plates and in a lucid and intelligent text … Delaunay now has the fine book that she deserves to honour her contribution to fashion' The International Herald Tribune
Described by De Chirico as a ‘publisher–poet,’ Jacques Damase published the work of Jean Cocteau, Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Eluard and Charlie Chaplin; Jean Louis Barrault’s first book on the theatre; and the first book on Braque’s sculpture. In 1949 he became editor of the review Labyrinthe. His own books included studies on the works of Jacques Callot, Braque, Chagall and Picasso, as well as the life and art of Sonia Delaunay. From 1964 until Delaunay’s death, Damase was her publisher; he was also responsible for the exhibitions of her works in all media.