This truly monumental depiction of the Three Graces is a preparatory study for the mural La ville de Paris that today belongs to the Centre Pompidou. The preparatory work for this piece is said to have extended over a period of more than two years. However, Delaunay completed the piece in only a few weeks, as he wanted to submit it for the Salon des Indépendants in March 1912. The artist here combines two motifs that he had previously used only separately, the view out of the window and the Eiffel Tower, thus taking stock of his previous creative period, so to speak. This fact is also indicated by the formal treatment of the motif. The fact that certain objects in the mural, such as the back of figure at the front of the picture, are broken up into flat facets recalls the intensive study of Cubism that Delaunay had made immediately before painting this piece.
The Three Graces at the centre of the picture represent a special aspect of La ville de Paris. Ever since classical antiquity artists have repeatedly depicted the grace and beauty of Zeus' daughters, including even modern painters such as Picasso, Rouault or Kupka. The special thing about Delaunay's version is that he bases it on a Pompeian fresco of which he owned a photograph, daring to place this model in a completely foreign, modern context.
The dimensions of the painting reproduced here were calculated such that the images could be transferred at full scale to the huge area of the mural. That it truly is only a study, or more accurately a cartoon, for the mural is proven by the fact that Delaunay tore it up afterwards. It was only in 1954 that the artist's heirs had the work pieced together again and mounted on canvas.Delaunay was to use the motif of the Three Graces once more, in a relief executed in casein colours between 1936 and 1938.