Sonia Delaunay 1885-1979
Inscribed 'SONIA DELAUNAY 63' b.l., 'SONIA DELAUNAY' on stretcher and '1052' on back on canvas
Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 78 3/4 (100 x 200)
Purchased from the artist through Gimpel Fils (Mara Savic Bequest) 1966
Exh: Jean Arp, Sonia Delaunay, Serge Poliakoff, Musée Rath, Geneva, April-May 1964 (48); Sonia Delaunay, Galerie Bing, Paris, November-December 1964 (works not numbered); Sonia Delaunay, Galerie Schütze, Bad Godesberg, May-June 1965 (works not numbered); Sonia Delaunay, Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin, July 1965 (7); Sonia Delaunay, Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich, October 1965 (12); Gimpel Fils, London, February 1966 (12); Rétrospective Sonia Delaunay, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, November 1967-January 1968 (179)
Repr: Aujourd'hui, No.48, 1965, p.84 (earlier state); XXe Siécle, No.29, 1967, p.109 (reproduction trimmed at the bottom and on the right); Jacques Damase, Sonia Delaunay and others, Sonia Delaunay: Rythmes et Couleurs (Paris 1971), pp.336-7 in colour
The artist wrote (17 March 1966): 'This is a painting on which I worked a great deal and which opened up new vistas for me. I have freed myself from many plastic problems. I now intend to continue this direction with all my lyricism, while retaining the precision of construction.'
In a later letter (11 May 1966), she added: '"Triptych" was painted in April-May 1963 and finished in the autumn. I gave it this title because I composed it starting from three different motifs I have been working with for some years.
'The left-hand part is a motif I have worked on since 1960. The right-hand one is more recent.
'I set myself the problem of introducing an area of white in the centre. It was very difficult to create a unity between the three parts.'
The photograph reproduced in Aujourd'hui, 1965, shows an earlier state of this composition, with a larger expanse of white. There was also a dark V-shaped line in the centre extending from the corner of the white area in the lower right to the bottom of the brownish half-circle above, and thence right and upwards to the tip of what is now a green triangle.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.164, reproduced p.164