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Both Robert Delaunay and his wife Sonia believed that colour could be used in the same way a composer used notes to create harmonies of colour.
Their work was more colourful than other Cubists, such as Georges Braque who tended to use muted combinations of brown or greens in order not to distract from the structural form of the painting.
Robert produced many paintings of Paris, and included such motifs as the motor car and the aeroplane. His canvases were of intense colour and sweeping lines which later influenced the graphic design of the Art Deco poster and advertising artists.
Robert had first been influenced by the Impressionists, but was introduced to Cubism by Sonia's first husband Wilhelm, among others. He collaborated with other Cubist artists, Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleize and Fernard Leger, in exhibitions at the Salon d'Automne in 1910 and the Salon des Indépendants in 1911.
Sonia developed what was called the "Simultanist" style and made a splash at the 1925 Paris Exhibition sitting on her painted motor car, decorated to match the colours of her store.
Her clothing designs were all the rage, with a severe, practical and
modern cut which moved away from the opulence of Bakst and Erte's exotic
designs for the Ballet Russes, which had influenced fashion in the
1910s and early 1920s.
Sonia also worked as an interior and theatre designer in order to support her husband and young son.
Robert had had no formal art training, but had been apprenticed as a theatre set painter. This was typical of the artistic melange of the Art Deco years when many artists and fashion designers were involved in the theatre, especially for the exotic and influential Ballet Russes.
Sonia also designed book covers and fabrics. She opened her own fabric shop "Atelier Simultané" which was later to exhibit at the 1925 Paris exhibition alongside such famous fashion designers as Poiret and Lanvin.
In 1921 she had collaborated with the Dadaist artist Tristan Tzara on range of womens' clothes. She was influenced by the Cubist movement, but had also studied the theories of a 19th century colour chemist who claimed that our perception of a colour is changed by the colour next to it. Her art, her fabrics and her clothes were bright with clashing colours and geometric patterns.
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