Textile, Tissu Simultané no. 46, 1924
Tissu simultané no. 46 was designed in 1924 and represents a particularly important period in Sonia Delaunay’s textile design. After experiencing success with costume and fashion presentations for an avant-garde circle of painters and poets, Delaunay began thinking of more commercial options for her textiles. By 1923 she was designing printed fabrics called tissus simultané, which she used in her fashion and accessories and sold to firms in France and abroad.
Tissu simultané no. 46, a bold geometric design of blue, yellow, and black lines on a white ground, has the hallmark characteristics of her textiles from the 1920s: contrasting colors with abstract, geometric, or rounded patterns that are block-printed on cotton or silk fabric. In fact, she often printed the same pattern and colorway on different types of fabrics to achieve very different effects. Although this same pattern has been printed on other textiles, such as cotton, that absorb more of the color, this example is silk and the color sits on the surface for a more vibrant and painterly effect. Delaunay made a distinction between her paintings and textiles, but tried to capture the immediacy of the creative process in both. In the early 1920s, she initially carved her own wood blocks in order to reveal particular subtleties. Only later, when she became too busy to carve the blocks herself, did she instead supervise the process. Although Delaunay ultimately returned to painting after the 1930s, she always saw textiles and painting as equals.
Delaunay was a modern artist and designer who merged art and everyday life. Her work encompassed everything from paintings, drawings, painted ceramics, and neon light sculpture to posters, textiles, and costume design. Born in 1885 as Sarah Stern to a Jewish laborer’s family in Gradizhsk, Ukraine, she was adopted at the age of five by her maternal uncle, Henri Terk, a wealthy lawyer in St. Petersburg. Showing artistic talent in her youth, she attended an art academy in Germany and later went to Paris where she met her husband, Robert Delaunay, also a painter. Together they developed the theory of simultaneity—the sensation of movement when placing contrasting colors side by side. This is expressed in their paintings as well as in the Sonia Delaunay’s textiles from the 1920s.
This would be the first textile by Sonia Delaunay to enter the collection. It is extremely rare to find Delaunay textiles, since most of her textiles were not signed and are therefore difficult to identify. This textile has the inscription “Tissus Simultané,” which immediately identifies it as designed by Delaunay.
It is credited
Museum purchase through gift of Friedman Benda, Elaine Lustig Cohen, Ruth Kaufmann, Patricia Orlofsky and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.
Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
H x W: 46.5 x 65 cm (18 5/16 x 25 9/16 in.)
It is inscribed
Tissus Simultané written in selvedge in Delaunay's hand
Cite this object as
Textile, Tissu Simultané no. 46, 1924; France; silk; H x W: 46.5 x 65 cm (18 5/16 x 25 9/16 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Friedman Benda, Elaine Lustig Cohen, Ruth Kaufmann, Patricia Orlofsky and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2012-2-1
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.