Thursday, September 29, 2011


Pages from the workbook of Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979)

Gentle teardrop motif in a textile pattern by Delaunay.
As with all textiles, it probably came in a number of color-ways.

Sonia Delaunay was a wonderful French artist whose modern designs in fabric for fashion and home decor were given an exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York, this past spring-summer. 

She is not particularly known for paisley design but this parade-rest teardrop pattern of hers is a treat and might remind one of the "buti" pattern in India where miniatures of the  motif  are repeated in rows.  In India, "buta" is used to describe the larger paisley. This larger paisley at times decorates the borders of a rectangular shawl while the rows of "buti" line up in the center portion.

Delaunay has explained that her repetition of motif was inspired by the quilting she had seen as a child in the houses of Russian peasants. However, motif repetition appears to be a very human experience in a variety of cultures.

The same New York summer that Delaunay's design patterns were on exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt, over on Fifth Avenue the work of  her famous husband Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) was part of a Guggenheim exhibit, "The Great Upheaval: Modern Art from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918." Both Delaunays spent time focusing on their exploration of juxtaposed color and color's tone and depth (Orphism.)   Included in the Guggenheim exhibit was Robert Delaunay's brilliant Orphist-Cubist-Expressionist Eiffel Tower series. JP