- Sonia Delaunay
- Rythme coloré
- signed Sonia Delaunay and numbered 615 on the stretcher
- oil on canvas
- 97.4 by 130cm., 38 1/4 by 51 1/4 in.
Private Collection (by descent from the above; sale: Christie's, Paris, 1st December 2009, lot 19)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Geneva, Musée Rath, Jean Arp, Sonia Delaunay, Serge Poliakoff, 1964, no. 43, illustrated in the catalogue
Geneva, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Sonia Delaunay, 1964, no. 59
Bad Godesberg, Galerie Schütze, Sonia Delaunay, 1965
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Rétrospective Sonia Delaunay, 1967-68, no. 158, illustrated in the catalogue
Rythme coloré is a particularly striking example of Delaunay's later œuvre, demonstrating her unwavering dedication to the power of colour and form over subject and narrative. Though her significance to the course of twentieth-century art was previously overshadowed by that of her husband, a series of recent retrospectives and important scholarly research have brought 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 made designs for textiles, clothing and even automobiles, and after the death of her husband she continued to create, turning to a monumental format. The present work is one of the most successful examples of her late abstractions, incorporating fields of layered colours that call to mind the Abstract Expressionists. Rythme coloré is a powerful embodiment of the artistic concerns that had dominated her œuvre from the beginning.
As 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).