Color Moves the Design Library

Art et Decoration, November 1926

Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay, which opened March 18, brings over 300 examples of the artist’s fashion and textile designs to our galleries. Here are a few fun things that were not included, but can all be found in Smithsonian’s National Design Library, housed here at Cooper-Hewitt.

Vogue, June 1925

In June 1925, Vogue astutely placed the work of “Sonia de Launay” in the context of modern art and avant garde theater. Delaunay designed costumes for Dada happenings, film, and for the Ballets Russes. An article in Art et Decoration from November 1926 questions the wearability of her textiles, but treats them to serious criticism (and serious praise), noting that Delaunay not only came out of the dynamic creative milieu of Paris in the early 20th century, but helped to create it. Her textiles are also featured in the magazine’s section on costumes and scenic design for cinema, with a still from the film Le P’tit Parigot, for which Robert Delaunay designed the sets with textiles by Sonia.

Art et Decoration, November 1926

Her Boutique Simultané, created for the Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs in 1925, was featured in René Herbst’s tribute to the windows of the exposition, Devantures, vitrines, installations de magasins à l’exposition internationale des arts décoratifs. The library’s Thérèse Bonney archive includes a photo of a Siègel showroom with a mirrored mannequin designed by Herbst, draped in a Simultaneous fabric by Delaunay. Both are fantastic resources for French art deco design.

Boutique Simultané, in René Herbst’s Devantures, vitrines, installations de magasins à l’exposition internationale des arts décoratifs .

Siègel showroom, ca. 1927, photographed by Thérèse Bonney

The library’s rare books collection includes Delaunay’s brilliantly colored folio of pochoir prints, Compositions, Couleurs, Idées, from which many of her Simultaneous textile designs were drawn. In 1929 she edited a collection of carpets and textiles by her contemporaries: Tapis et Tissus présenté par Sonia Delaunay. The book provides a rare opportunity to see Delaunay’s work not in the context of painting, but rather in the company of other textile designers, including Weiner Werkstatte designer Dagobert Peche and Bauhaus weaver Anni Albers.

Tapis et Tissus présenté par Sonia Delaunay, 1929, textile design by Anni Albers.