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Behind every great art movement, there’s a greater woman not getting the credit she deserves.

Sonia Delaunay, along with her second husband and fellow artist Robert Delaunay, was half of the duo that took Cubism to new places with Orphism. But before all this, Sonia was a young artist who, after studying art in Russia and Germany, had moved to Paris to pursue her dreams. She was introduced to the German art dealer Wilhelm Uhde, who was a well-to-do figure in the Parisian art world, eleven years her senior, and known to be gay. In 1908, Wilhelm and Sonia travelled to London and were married. The marriage hid Wilhem’s homosexuality; the couple also lived with Wilhem’s manservant/lover. Truly a marriage of convenience, it also stopped Sonia’s relatives from setting her up with some Vlad back home and led to her first one-person show at Wilhem’s gallery. Shortly thereafter, she met Robert Delaunay, an aspiring painter who visited Wilhem’s gallery. Wilhelm wrote in his autobiography, “After a year had passed, our marriage was over. A friend of mine had reason to believe that he was better able than I to make my wife completely happy, and I had no wish to stand in the way of their beautiful future.”  The best friend and gay ex-husband a girl could ask for, Wilhem even arranged a fake affair for himself with a woman so he and Sonia could divorce. 

After their marriage and the birth of their son, Sonia and Robert got to work on their new form of Cubism. An art critic dubbed Sonia and Robert’s style Orphism - named for the Greek poet whose lute playing charmed wild beasts, implying a connection between their paintings and music. Their style was an extension of Cubism with a bright, fauvist color palette. However, Sonia and Robert thought of their art in terms of “simultaneity” - i.e. a collapse of spatial distance and temporal sequence and the combination of disharmonious elements. Basically it's like the Matrix but with brighter colors/that time you accidentally did shrooms at Chuck E Cheese. Breaking boundaries and glass ceilings, Sonia expanded past canvases to designing clothing, fabric, and even cars in her signature style. Though Robert overshadows Sonia in the art historical canon, the two worked side by side, exchanging ideas and feeding off each other’s talents until Robert’s death in 1941.


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Here is what Wikipedia says about Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay (13 November 1885 – 5 December 1979) was a French artist, who spent most of her working life in Paris. She formally trained in Russia and Germany before moving to France and expanding her practice to include textile, fashion, and set design. She co-founded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes, with her husband Robert Delaunay and others. She was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964, and in 1975 was named an officer of the French Legion of Honor.

Her work in modern design included the concepts of geometric abstraction, and the integration of furniture, fabrics, wall coverings, and clothing into her art practice.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Sonia Delaunay