Show Less
Restricted access

Born in a Shtetl

An Essay on Sonia Delaunay and her Jewishness

Tom Sandqvist

Sonia Delaunay is one of the most important artists of the early twentieth century, whose contribution to European Modernism was fundamental, if not always fully acknowledged in its own right. She is known for translating her experiments via painting into the realm of fashion, interior design and crafts and, thus, consciously transcending the boundaries between fine and applied art. The focus within mainstream art history has been her relationship with her husband Robert Delaunay. Tom Sandqvist shifts this focus on her Jewish roots and sheds a light on the influence of growing up in the typical Eastern European shtetl, which has not attracted any special attention in the analysis of Delaunay’s art. Tom Sandqvist reflects on the impact of Judaism on Sonia Delaunay’s œuvre, with a special focus on her early contributions to Simultanism and Orphism within the interwar Parisian Avant-Garde.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

In Portugal and Spain


Anyhow, it gets a little bit paltry or petty when one gets the impression that Sonia Delaunay’s engagement in stage costumes, textile patterns and modern fashion did not seriously begin until the allowance from her family in Saint Petersburg was stopped by the October revolution in 1917. Anyway, there was nothing that indicates that the transgression would have conflicted with her profound conviction that the demarcation line between the disciplines was totally senseless. The events followed in quick succession as soon as the long warm summer of 1914 was succeeded by the war in August, which everybody thought would be only a short parenthesis filled with nothing else than grand and glorious deeds of valour; this was indeed the summer which Stefan Zweig thought was more wonderful than ever, promising to be even more gorgeous, the summer when everybody was looking at the world more unconcerned than ever, the summer which Zweig himself spent in Baden accompanied by a friend, walking in the vine hills, meeting an old wine-grower rejoicing at the prospects of a matchless wine thanks to the sustained beautiful weather – “People will always remember the summer of 1914!” But – as we all know – the grapes would rot on the vines in the great wine districts as the armies rolled in and began harvesting something entirely different than the best wine of the century.

And if Arthur Segal joined all those who set off for Switzerland as soon as possible immediately after the outbreak...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.