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Artists Nicolas de Staël

Nicolas de Staël

Russian-born, French Painter and Printmaker

Nicolas de Staël Photo
Movement: Art Informel

Born: January 5, 1914 - St Petersburg, Russia

Died: March 16, 1955 - Antibes, France

"All my life I had a need to think painting, to paint in order to liberate myself from all the impressions, all the feelings, and all the anxieties of which the only solution I know is painting."


When Nicolas De Staël leapt to his death from an apartment balcony in 1955, aged just 41, he left behind a body of work suggesting a stunning and singular painterly vision just emerging into full clarity. Part of the second great generation of European abstract artists, he came of age in post-1945 Paris, in the company of the Tachiste painters, whose 'pure', improvisatory and non-geometric abstraction provided a similar set of contexts and constraints as Abstract Expressionism in post-war America. A more figuratively inclined artist than many of his peers, more studious in his attention to picture construction, de Staël opened up a mesmerizing space in between representational and non-representational art, inspiring figures from Jean-Luc Godard - whose early cinematography is said to have been influenced by de Staël's color-palette - to the St. Ives School painters. The vibrancy of de Staël's work, and the success he was already achieving by the mid-1950s, makes his early death all the more puzzling and poignant.

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