Sonia Delaunay

Abstraction & the rag trade

If any demonstration were needed that the rag trade was part of the invention of modernist abstraction, then “Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay” would do the trick (Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York, closes June 19). Delaunay’s textitle design is so ingeniously inventive that her applied work confronts and transforms the achievements of her paintings. One of the greatest colorists of the period, rivaling Matisse and Mondrian, Delaunay’s dresses, hats, and scarves vibrate with the pulsating rhythm of “The Rites of Spring.”

I'm always on the alert for words in art. Nothing could ever top the Blaise Cendrars collaboration with Delaunay, The Prose of the Trans-Siberian (on display at the show). But I hadn't know about her "Poem Dress" (Robe poéme) series from 1922 and 1923.


Man Ray tapestry


Which brings to mind a favorite work of mine by Man Ray: "Tapestry" (1911, from the Pompidou) is made up of fabric swaths from his father's tailor shop.