Pioneering woman artist Delaunay's drawings to be sold

Paris (AFP) –


Dozens of works by the pioneering modernist artist Sonia Delaunay are to go under the hammer in Paris on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian-born painter was a co-founder of the Orphism movement, which alongside Cubism shook the art world in the years before World War I.

The 88 drawings and small gouaches trace the development of the Russian artist's work from the 1920s to the 1970s, by which time her geometric designs had appeared on fashion catwalks, textiles and costumes for the great ballet impresario Diaghilev.

Delaunay, born Sarah Ilinitchna Stern, married a gay German art dealer so she could get hands on her own inheritance before falling in love with the aristocratic French avant-garde artist Robert Delaunay, who she later married.

Between them they helped create Orphism by breaking out of the boundaries of Cubism, making it more colourful and fragmented, and pushing it toward the more abstract art that later became dominant.

The cache of works being auctioned in the French capital were collected by the French publisher Jacques Damase.

He is renowned for publishing the drawings of many modern art masters from Picasso to Max Ernst and Georges Braque.

Damase was one of those responsible for reviving interest in her work, which had been overshadowed by her husband.

Delaunay, who died in 1979, left behind many drawings and designs for fashion and textile works as well as painting and sketches for posters and illustrations.

A believer in making art accessible in every aspect of life, the sale also includes preparatory drawings for jewellery, ceramics and even playing cards.