Sonia Delaunay Electric Prisms 1913

Sonia Delaunay Electric Prisms 1913 Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, Gift of Mr. Theodore Racoosin
© Pracusa 2014083  

The colour and dynamism of simultanism was particularly suited to capturing the remarkable energy of city life in the early twentieth century. Sonia’s Electric Prisms series explored the distinctive effects of electric lighting, while her studies of the Boulevard Saint Michel and her billboard projects for luxury brands such as Zenith show a fascination with the changing fabric of the urban landscape.

The tango craze that swept through Paris in the early 1910s was another symbol of modernity. Sonia would spend her evenings at the Bal Bullier ballroom, developing sketches for her painting of the dance hall.

This early example of Sonia’s fascination with dance strikes a subtle balance between figuration and abstraction. Sonia even created a simultaneous dress that she would wear on her frequent visits to Bal Bullier. This introduced a personal, performative element to her use of abstract forms, establishing a dialogue with the movement of the dancers. Simultanism was becoming a way of life.