Sonia Delaunay played a pivotal role in the development of the French artist's book during and after World War I. Together with Blaise Cendrars, she created an illustrated concertina book ofover two metres long (La prose du Transsibérien, 1913) which is now considered the most innovative book of that age, with its rapid succession of art movements. She also remained active after this, and collaborated with another author after World War II: the Dadaist Tristan Tzara, whom she'd known for a long time. The French artist's book in this second period was mainly defined by lithography, as employed by the printer Mourlot for art dealer and publisher Maeght. This was the age of lithographic books by Picasso, Braque, Miró and later Bram van Velde. Delaunay however didn't employ this method of reproduction for Tzara's poems, creating original paintings instead. She created four of those gouaches for this book, Le fruit permis, published in 1956 by Caractères in Paris.
Sonia Terk was born in Gradizhsk in the Ukraine and came to Paris via St. Petersburg in 1905, where she married gallery owner Wilhelm Uhde. Although she had already been in contact with the French and Russian avant-garde, Uhde drew her into the direct circle of artists like Braque, Derain and Henri le Douanier Rousseau. In 1910 she remarried painter Robert Delaunay. Together, they developed a theory of colour based on scientific research that demonstrated that to the human eye, blueappears different next to green than itappears next to red, and that some colour contrasts create the illusion of movement. The Delaunay couple's concept of 'Simultanéisme' worked with colour contrasts and dissonance. They used simple basic shapes like circles and squares.
Initially Sonia Delaunay broke away from the traditional division of paintings by choosing a different medium: the embroidery of tapestries. This way she could abandon lines and choose instead colour planes, for which she envisioned the colours of Rousseau (she therefore took note of his use of colours, while others criticized him for his naïve style). She came up with thousands of variations on these basic shapes, decorating any item that came within her reach. First inside her home: quilts, bookbindings, trunks and clothes. Later, outside her home as well: costumes for films, theatre and ballet companies (the Ballets Russes), curtains, and rugs. She produced designs for Metz & Co in Amsterdam. Even a Citroën car had its turn. The effects may be compared to those of the German Bauhaus movement, with one critic remarking that Delaunay achieved in France by herself what it took a whole school to accomplish in Germany. Her first piece in the 'Simultanéisme' style was a quilt for her son Charles in 1911. It is a remarkable work, the more so because the actual Cubism of Picasso and Braque's collages had yet to begin.
The poet Tristan Tzara was born in Romania, wrote the first Dadaist text in Zurich, and introduced Paris to Dadaism in 1919. Sonia Delaunay engaged in a lifelong friendship with him that began after Robert Delaunay had contributed to the magazine Dada. Tzara wrote a poem for Delaunay at the opening of her boutique Simultané at the international Art Deco fair of 1925. The Dada movement was described as nihilistic due to its systematic attack on grammar and word meanings. Tzara was interested in primitive modes of expression, but would later develop into a Surrealist, and later still into a lyrical poet. He was a supporter of the communist party; he was also an active member of the resistance during World War II.
After World War II Sonia Delaunay illustrated two of Tzara's books. This first work contained nine poems and dates from 1956. Delaunay elected to do the illustration in pochoir, using templates from which the painted area had been cut. A template was made for each colour, so the combination as a whole had to be considered in advance. She usually had the templates made by others; the actual painting in gouache (and inwater colour in other books) was manual work that she did herself. The borders are a little frayed, because she wanted to emphasize the manual work by avoiding mechanical lines. Some borders and colour areashave been visibly altered by pencil; the colours don't cover the designs completely, leaving the work slightly transparent. The colours are still extraordinarily fresh, lively, intense, even frisky, and convincing. The book's typography is unremarkable. It was printed in an edition of sixty copies. This is copy number 10, signed by Delaunay and Tzara.
|Description:||Le fruit permis : poèmes / Tristan Tzara ; avec quatre compositions au pochoir de Sonia Delaunay. - Paris : Caractères, . - 56 p. : ill. ; 29 cm|
|This copy:||Number 10 of 60 on Marais|
|Note:||Signed by the author and the artist|
|Bibliography:||Bénézit 4-390 ; Monod 10799|
|Shelf-mark:||Koopm K 345|
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- Sherry A. Buckberrough, Susan Krane, Sonia Delaunay: A retrospective. Buffalo, NY, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1980
- François Buot, Tristan Tzara, l'homme qui inventa la révolution Dada. Paris, Grasset, 2002
- Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voices and visions. The Koopman Collection and the Art of the French Book. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
- Dominique Desanti, Sonia Delaunay, magique magicienne. Paris, Ramsay, 1988
- Michel Hoog, Robert et Sonia Delaunay. Paris, Éditions des Musées Nationaux, Palais du Louvre, 1971
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- Sonia & Robert Delaunay. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, 1977
Gouacheby Sonia Delaunay
Gouache by Sonia Delaunay
Edition statement, signed by Tristan Tzara and Sonia Delaunay