Sonia Delaunay-Terk (Ukrainian, 1979)

Sonia Delaunay-Terk (Ukranian, 1885–1979) was a painter and designer who, along with her husband Robert Delaunay and other artists, founded the Orphism art movement. Born in Gradižsk in present-day Ukraine, the artist studied drawing at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe between 1903 and 1905, before moving to Paris, where she attended the Académie de la Palette, where she was inspired by the works of Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and the Fauves.

Interested in the study of color, light, and movement, Delaunay-Terk became known for her bold, abstract forms and geometric shapes. Her fascination with the concept of simultaneous contrast was evident in her early collages, book bindings, small painted boxes, cushions, waistcoats, lampshades, and one of her first large-scale works, the painting of the Bal Bullier (1912–1913), which depicted a popular Parisian dance-hall. At the same time, she produced “simultaneous dresses,” a mix of squares and triangles of taffeta, tulle, flannelette, moiré, and corded silk. Her experiments with color, art, and design were called simultanéisme.

During World War I, she and her husband fled to Spain. While abroad, she traveled extensively, painting still lifes and market scenes, and working as an interior decorator in Madrid. After returning to Paris in 1920, she continued to produce design pieces, and began working with fabric and textiles in 1923. After founding her own company, Boutique Simultanée, she showed work at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Continuing into the 1930s, Delaunay-Terk developed an international reputation, working with department stores in New York, and designing costumes for films.

Throughout her career, she was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Légion d’honneur. In addition, her work has been included in a number of prestigious exhibitions, and she had the distinction of being the first living female artist to have a retrospective at the Louvre. Today, her work can be seen in institutions around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Reina Sofía National Museum in Madrid.


Born in Gradizhsk, Ukraine
Studied drawing at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Karlsruhe, Germany
Moving to Paris, enrolled at the Académie de la Palette, Montparnasse, France
Opened a fashion studio together with Jacques Heim
Designed not only fabrics and fashion, but carpets and panels and handbags, and also costumes for two films: Vertige and Le p’tit Parigot directed by René Le Somptier
Painted for the railroad pavilion, Portugal at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne
Was awarded a gold medal
Became the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre
Named an officer of the French Legion of Honor, Légion d’honneur and painted the poster for the International Women’s Year of UNESCO
Died in Paris, France


Inventing Abstraction, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Les artistes russes hors frontière, Musée du Montparnasse, Paris, France
Ganz Konkret Folge 1 - Haus Konstruktiv, Stiftung für konstruktive und konkrete Kunst, Zurich, Switzerland
Path to Abstraction, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW Austrailia
Twentysix Gasoline Stations ed altri libri d'Artista: Una collezione, Museo Regionale di Messina, Messina, Italy
Futurism, Tate Modern, London, U.K.
Tanz der Farben, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
Stage Pictures: Drawing for Performance, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Sonia Delaunay in Bielefeld: 1958 – 2008, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Bielefeld,Germany(solo)
Dogtooth & Tessellate, The Approach, London, U.K.
20th Century Works on Paper from the FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE Collection: Picasso, Tàpies, Miró and Others, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL
Escalera de Color: Exposición Colectiva, Galería Cayón, Madrid, Spain
Modern Prints: Klassische Moderne bis Pop Art, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland
Sonia & Robert Delaunay, Galeria Barbié, Barcelona, Spain
Sonia Delaunay, The Museum of Sketches for Public Art, Lund, Sweden(solo)
Picasso & Delaunay: The Book as Inspiration, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA
Ateliers: L'artistes et ses lieux de création, Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris, France
Dibujos Españoles del Siglo XX, Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Konstruktive Aspekte von Mondrian bis Kelly, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland
The Persistence of Geometry, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
Simultanke - The Creative World of Sonia Delaunay, International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia
De Cézanne à Dubuffet: La collection Jean Planque, Musée d'Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium
Looking at Words, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY
Accrochage: Von Delaunay bis Lichtenstein, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland
Kunst der Ecole de Paris nach 1950,Galerie Boisserée, Cologne, Germany
Masterworks by Contemporary Printmakers, Part I &2, Irvine Contemporary, Washington, D.C.
As palabras da pintura, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Russisch Paris, Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal, Germany
Arte in Due, Palazzo Cavour, Turin, Italy
Sonia Delaunay - Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, Italy(solo)
Pas de deux, Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Robert and Sonia Delaunay. 1905 - 1941, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
Nur Farbe, Galerie Thomas, Munich, Germany
Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão - Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Múltiplos de Sónia Delaunay - Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal(solo)
Works on Paper, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, U.K.
Simply Abstract, Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Licht und Hoffnung, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland
L'école de Paris, 1904-1929: La part de l'Autre, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France
Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Museo Picasso, Barcelona, Spain
Paris in New York: French-Jewish Artists in Private Collections, The Jewish Museum of New York, New York, NY
Grandes del Grabado: Agosto '99, dionis bennassar Galería de Arte, Madrid, Spain
Linhas de Sombra, Centro de Arte Moderna José de Azeredo Perdigão, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal
L'avant-garde russe et la scène 1910-1930, Musée d'Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium
Robert & Sonia Delaunay, Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne, Germany
Sonia Delaunay, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland(solo)
Encounters With Modern Art: Works from the Rothschild Family Collections, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Konstruktive Aspekte, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland

Public Collections

Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane QLD, Austrailia
Musée d´Art Moderne et Contemporain,Liège, Belgium
Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Museo Botero, Bogota, Colombia
Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia
KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Aalborg, Denmark
Kiasma: Museum of Contemporart Art, Helsinki, Finland
Musée Départemental de la Tapisserie, Aubusson, Creuse, France
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Cambrai, Cambrai, France
Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, France
National Gallery of Modern Art - New Delhi, New Delhi, India
Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia
Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Villa Croce Museo d´Arte Contemporanea, Genoa, Italy
Fukuyama Museum of Art, Fukuyama, Japan
Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico
Muzeum Sztuki Lodz, Lodz, Poland
Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid, Spain
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
Museum Bellerive, Zurich, Switzerland
Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, U.K.
Tate Britain, London, U.K.
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, U.K.
MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Vero Beach Museum of Art, Vero Beach, FL
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA


Modern Prints: Klassische Moderne bis Pop Art, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland(catalogue)
Konstruktive Aspekte von Mondrian bis Kelly, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland(catalogue)
Damase, Jacque and Delaunay, Sonia. Sonia Delaunay: Fashion and Fabrics. Thames & Hudson: London
Baron, Stanley. Sonia Delaunay: The Life of an Artist. Pub Overstock Unlimited Inc: New York
Sonia Delaunay,Galerie Proarta AG, Zürich, Switzerland(catalogue)
Delaunay, Sonia. Sonia Delaunay: Patterns and Designs in Full Color. Dover Publication:Mineola
Cohen, Arthur.A. Sonia Delaunay. Harry N Abrams: New York