18 March 2013

Lucy, Sonya, & the Kaleidoscope

 As with most stories, fiction drives many more than fact. The vagaries of a story always add an allure- as with the John Lennon song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Whatever the realities of the song- I've always conjured the fantastical kaleidoscope patterns of Sonia Delaunay. While you may conjure an LSD induced trip via Sargent Pepper, or Lennon's son Julian's drawing about a classmate "Lucy"-songs become personal-we draw our own pictures from them.

 Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies

 Somebody calls you,you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head

Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she's gone

 Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmellow pies

Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
That grow so incredibly high

Newspaper taxis appear on the shore
Waiting to take you away

 Climb in the back with your head in the clouds
And you're gone

 Picture yourself on a train in a station
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties

 Suddenly someone is there at the turnstyle
The girl with the kaleidoscope eyes 

 Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Lucy in the sky with diamonds

An abstract painter, Sonia Delaunay is today best known for her kaleidoscope textiles that appeared in the 1920's and 30's in interiors, fashion, film and advertisement. Her ability to translate her canvases into the practical-and commercial made her a wealthy woman. She and her husband painter Robert Delaunay were founders of Orphism-an art movement drenched in colour and geometry. Sonia referred to her work outside her more important works on canvas as "exercises in colour."

Designers continue to be inspired by her kaleidoscope eyes today-

(plasticine porter-by Robert Delaunay)
there is more about Delaunay here from the 2011 exhibition of her work at the Cooper Hewitt.
about the Lennon song here
most of the Delaunay images are from Red List here, or at pinterest.



  1. Sonia rocks! We have a stunningly lovely Deco picture theatre (The Rivoli) in Melbourne that was refreshed during the last 10 years or so. Many of the original elements were still intact but the carpet had to be commissioned from scratch. Naturally a Sonia Delaunay pattern was selected.

  2. Excellent pairing of Sonia Delaunay imagery with "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" - one of my favorite Little Augury posts. Sonia Delaunay absolutely mesmerizes doesn't she? An intriguing artist - a must-know female artist.

    Delaunay's knowledge of weaving and quilting, and her feeling of rhythm and how she associated it with color and pattern - all, translated to her energetic "simultaneous contrasts".

    It is easy to see why Sonia was so influential, but also interesting to know that she described her life being divided in thirds - one for her son, one for promoting her artist husband's works and theories, and the last third devoted to her own artwork. Even during the time she was raising her son though, her quilting and collages exhibited her distinctively unique juxtapositions of color and shape!

    Another reason I love her - she loved her cats... and there are wonderful photographs of her with them.

  3. Dear Little Augury,

    this is a very inspiring post. I also liked the quote of Marc Jacobs. Always looking for inspiration, I am glad to have found your blog (finally!)

    Kind regards



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