Sonia and Robert were both invited to contribute to the 1937 Paris Exhibition, a project that would take up much of their time and energy over the best part of two years.

Entitled The International Exhibition of Arts and Technology in Modern Life, it was intended to celebrate scientific innovation and boost trade. Working as part of a collective called Art and Light, with a team of out-of-work artists to assist them, the Delaunays helped to design and decorate two of the exhibition buildings.

Sonia’s large-scale panels for the Pavillon des Chemins de Fer (the Railway Pavilion) were awarded a Gold medal by the exhibition judges, but sadly most of them have not survived. For the Palais de l’Air (the Palace of the Air), she created the three murals in this room, depicting a propeller, an engine and an instrument panel. Machine parts and technical drawing are seamlessly incorporated into complex abstract compositions, with Sonia’s characteristic use of vibrant colour.