Nicolas de Staël, oil on canvas, 1943

It is with intense drama that the Russian-French artist Nicolas de Staël sought the impossible compromise between figuration and his new abstraction. He left tachism and worked his way through different styles, from geometry to synthetic cubism. Not categorically in movement, but looking for innovation in colour, form and technique. Restless about the experiment, de Staël reached an impasse that led him to commit suicide.

The untitled artwork, painted in 1943, was created at a time when he was destroying most of his important oeuvre. Nicolas de Staël struggled all his life with the brush and lived with destructive thoughts. Unrest became a symbiosis that encompassed his life, he not only abstracted the painting in form, but this artist also scraped his paint back from the canvas. It is these strokes, stripped of their paint, that determine the abstraction in his early work.


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