Nicolas de Stael

"Many were attracted by the romance of this tall, lanky Russian aristocrat with the deep voice and quixotic disposition, a former Foreign Legionnaire, a remote relative of the French writer Madame de Stael, the orphaned son of a Czarist cavalry general. When in 1955, at the age of 41, de Stael threw himself from the balcony of his apartment on the Riviera - perhaps a victim of the pressure that accompanied his meteoric success - the critic and art historian Douglas Cooper was not alone in thinking de Stael had been ''the truest, the most considerable, and the most innately gifted painter who has appeared on the scene in Europe or elsewhere during the last 25 years.'' A decade later, in 1965, on the occasion of a big de Stael exhibition, Newsweek described him as ''the last of the great School of Paris painters.''

article here...

(nice, 1954)

Changing the Art on the Walls, read article here about the Obamas!

"The Obamas are sending ripples through the art world as they put the call out to museums, galleries and private collectors that they’d like to borrow modern art by African-American, Asian, Hispanic and female artists for the White House. In a sharp departure from the 19th-century still lifes, pastorals and portraits that dominate the White House’s public rooms, they are choosing bold, abstract art works.

Last week the Obamas decided to borrow “Nice,” a 1954 abstract by Russian-born painter Nicolas de Staël containing red, black and moss-green rectangles; a couple of boxy paintings from German-born Josef Albers’s famed “Homage to the Square” series in shades of gold, red and lavender; and “Dancer Putting on Stocking” and “The Bow,” two table-top bronzes by Edgar Degas. The museum also sent over New York artist Glenn Ligon’s “Black Like Me,” a stenciled work about the segregated South, among others that the Obamas are still considering, according to a White House spokeswoman."

"He was also, in his love of color, a natural heir to Matisse, and, in his enthusiasm for the sensuousness of paint, a follower of Braque, who in turn became one of his friends and admirers. As a painter, in other words, the Russian-born de Stael was unmistakably French, not least because finesse plays such a central role in his achievement."

(Les Footballeurs, 1952)
oil on canvas

"But by 1953, de Staël's depression led him to seek isolation in the south of France (eventually in Antibes). He suffered from exhaustion, insomnia and depression. In the wake of a disappointing meeting with a disparaging art critic on March 16, 1955 he committed suicide. He leapt to his death from his eleventh story studio terrace, in Antibes. He was 41 years old."

see more images of his work here..