The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of my favorite places to pass some time. Earlier this week, I took a group of students to a special event celebrating Punk: Chaos to Couture. As I wandered around the second floor, making my way to the exhibition, several sketches caught my eye. The main corridor that leads to the special exhibition gallery is generally lined with works on paper – prints, drawings, and so on. I noticed a lot of patterns, and knew they were textile designs. (I’ll be writing more about those later!) In the middle of this large corridor was a small table encased in plexiglass with the most wonderful sketches by Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979).
These drawings are from 1925, and just darling! I stood there a long time looking at them. (They were a bit difficult to photograph without casting a shadow, as you can see.) These sketches are simply entitled Sonia Delaunay: her paintings, her objects, her simultaneous fabrics, her fashions. I think these are really prime examples of her design sensibilities, which included the art theory her and her husband Robert developed. (New to my site? You should take a look at my previous posts on Sonia & Robert Delaunay)
Sonia, along with her husband, painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941), developed a color theory called simultaneity“ the sensation of movement when contrasting colors are placed side by side.
I love the geometry and color patterns in each of these sketches. They clearly show a harmony between the fine and decorative arts movements at the time. The green and black dress on the left is a nod to Cubism. The middle dress looks uncannily like the interior of an Art Deco building. Perhaps it was inspired by a tiled floor.
The silhouette is still column-like, which is a hallmark of the 1920s. There is no defined waist, and the garments seem to hang vertically from the shoulders and obscure the shape of the body. However, you can see that most of the hemlines are quite long – a definite contrast to the American flapper. A nice alternative silhouette to all The Great Gatesby buzz that’s been going around.
All images courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.