Women from History: Tauber-Arp's Dance

By Julia Ritson Sophie Tauber-Arp's work was all about form and colour, rhythm and balance.

Trained as a textile designer, Tauber-Arp works the grid lovingly. The warp and the weft. The abundant stitches marching up, down, left, right create a beautifully rhythmical work. Tauber-Arp was also a dancer, so the rhythm came naturally.

Sophie Tauber-Arp, Vertical-Horizontal Composition, 1916

These little bags are stunning. She was also making necklaces and cushions to sell.

Sophie Tauber-Arp, Reticules, 1918

Sophie was one of those artists of the time who was very eager to merge art and everyday life. Abandoning the old concept of applied and fine arts as separate entities.

In 1927, Sophie said, 'The intrinsic decorative urge should not be eradicated, it is one of humankind's deep-rooted, primordial urges. The desire to enhance and beautify things cannot be construed as materialistic in the sense of increasing the value of one's property, rather it emanates from the urge for perfection and creative accomplishment.'

It's particularly lovely to see this composition. A clean architectural structure achieved by bringing together separate forms.

Sophie Tauber-Arp, View of Cadaqués, 1932

This striking gouache is a picture of space.

The lines cut through planes and delineate light from dark. Delicately coloured geometric forms move freely around the pictorial space.


Sophie Tauber-Arp, Twelve Planar Spaces and Angular Bands, 1938

Sophie Tauber-Arp was an intriguing artist who let life flow seamlessly into art.

Julia Ritson is a Melbourne artist. Her paintings investigate colour, abstraction and a long-standing fascination with the grid. Julia has enriched and extended her studio practice with a series of limited edition art scarves. She also produces an online journal dedicated to art and scarves and architecture.