Lot 254
  • 254

Sonia Delaunay

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Sonia Delaunay
  • Rythme colorĂ©
  • signed Sonia Delaunay and numbered 615  on the stretcher
  • oil on canvas
  • 97.4 by 130cm., 38 1/4 by 51 1/4 in.


Maurice Lefebvre-Foinet, Paris
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


Venice, Galleria del Cavallino, Sonia Delaunay, 1962
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


The canvas is not lined and UV examination reveals no traces of retouching visible under UV light. There are a few fine lines of stable craquelure, mainly to the central black pigment. Otherwise this work is in overall very good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Sonia Terk met Robert Delaunay in Paris in the early months of 1909. Both emerging artists, the two were immediately drawn to one another and the three decades that followed were ones of unparalleled artistic collaboration. Stanley Baron writes, ‘All the evidence implies that the thirty years they spent together, often working side by side, continually exchanging views and ideas, and feeding each other's talent, were filled with a sense of rare unity. It is all the more extraordinary because their heritage and background were in only a few respects comparable; they seemed, all the same, to complement each other basically, to fulfill each other's needs, and to harmonize to a remarkable extent their ideas about the nature of art and their painting' (Stanley Baron, Sonia Delaunay: The Life of an Artist, London, 1995, p. 19).

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).