Lot 125
  • 125

Sonia Delaunay

300,000 - 400,000 USD
782,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Sonia Delaunay
  • Signed with initials SD and dated 67 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 78 1/2 by 59 in.
  • 199.5 by 150 cm


Sonia Delaunay, Paris
Acquired from the Estate of the above


New York, Gimpel & Weitzenhoffer Gallery, 1969
Austin, The University of Texas Museum, 1970
Turin, Martano Gallery, Sonia Delaunay, 1970, no. 33
La Rochelle, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Maison de la Culture, 1973
Tokyo, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Sonia & Robert Delaunay, 1979, no. 78
Buffalo, Albright-Knox Gallery; Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute; Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts; Atlanta, The High Museum of Art; New York, The Grey Art Gallery; Art Institute of Chicago; Montreal, Musée d'Art Contemporain, Sonia Delaunay: A Retrospective, 1980-81, no. 32
Lisbon, Fondacao C. Gubenkian, 1982
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1985, illustrated in the catalogue
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Sonia & Robert Delaunay: Artist couples, artist friends, 1991-92
Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Sonia Delaunays Welt der Kunst, 2008-09, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Catalogue Note

Rythme couleur is a monumental masterpiece within Sonia Delaunay's later oeuvre, demonstrating her unwavering dedication to the power of color and form over subject and narrative. Though her significance to the course of 20th century art had been previously overshadowed by that of her husband, a series of recent retrospectives and important scholarly research have brough to light the immensity of her contribution. She strived for a universal sense of design and art that would pervade every corner of modern life, what she called Simultaneous Living. Over the course of her artistic career, she created designs for textiles, clothing and even automobiles. After the death of her husband, Sonia continued to create and turned to a monumental format. The present work is one of the most successful examples of her late abstractions, incorporating fields of layered colors that call to mind the abstract expressionists. Of course, she had been experimenting with these unmodulated color patches long before Mark Rothko or Barnett Newman entered the scene. Rythme couleur is a powerful statement of the artistic concerns that had dominated her oeuvre from the beginning.

Arthur A. Cohen writes, "...Her unreserved commitment to abstraction in painting, to the absolute primacy of color as the skin of the world -- the concern that colors be allowed to agitate the world, elicit form, create dislocations, in a word, to move rhythmically (as accomplished dancers move) -- reflects a quality of concentration, focus, condensation of intelligence and instinct to the point where there is nothing left if the risk fails. Others might revert to figuration, to quasi-realism, as relief from steadfast application of intelligence (and the role that intuition plays in intelligence) to the pursuit of abstraction, but Sonia Delaunay never relapsed... It was simply that the recognizable subject was no longer necessary; her passion was to let color create a world on its own terms" (Arthur A. Cohen, Sonia Delaunay, New York, 1988, pp. 15-16).

Fig. 1 The artist in her studio