Sonia Delaunay, born Sara Illinitchna Stern, is a Ukrainian painter born in Gradzihsk on November 14, 1885. Born into a modest family, she was adopted at the age of 5 by her uncle Terk, a lawyer from Saint Petersburg. The young girl grew up in a well-to-do environment where she learned French and German and discovered Impressionism during her vacations in Finland. She moved to Paris in 1905, where the Fauvist and Post-Impressionist movements inspired her first paintings, including "Philomena" (1907).
Her first marriage to Wilhelm Uhde in 1908 allowed her to enter influential literary and artistic circles, where she met the man who became her second husband in November 1909: Robert Delaunay. Their son Charles was born on January 18, 1910. Together, Sonia and Robert Delaunay developed their own pictorial movement, orphism, an abstract movement born of cubism and characterized by the association of very bright colors and geometric forms of cubism.
Sonia Delaunay quickly opened up to other forms of expression besides painting. With her husband, she participated in the creation of ballets, notably in cooperation with Diaghilev, and became friends with the "Delaunay gang" which included Tristan Tzara and Philippe Soupault. Fashion and ceramics designer, her work, continued after Robert's death in 1941, earned her the honor in 1964 of being the first woman honored with a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre Museum during her lifetime. Decorated with the Legion of Honor in 1975, she died in Paris on December 5, 1979.