Born in Paris to an upper class family, Delaunay trained as a theatrical designer until 1903 when he started to paint. After early Impressionism influences he first exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants at the age of 19 only. He became a leader of the non-representational painting, at first discovering the colour theories and incorporating colour and movement in a Neo-Impressionist fashion, and later with Cubism, but soon his work started to loose a purist approach to become more individual. His admirer and friend Apollinaire named this movement Orphism. During WWI Robert and his wife Sonia escaped to Spain and Portugal, where he returned to his theatre work and set design. After the war his work became increasingly more abstract and in 1937 he was invited to work with Sonia on the murals for the Paris International Exhibition, for which he produced Endless Rhythm. He died in 1941 in Montpellier.