Opera Gallery

Nicolas de Staël (Saint-Petersburg 1914-1955 Antibes)
Marine, 1954
Oil on canvas
60 x 81 cm
Signed lower right: Staël
Provenance: Jacques Dubourg, Paris; Mrs. Maillard, Paris; Opera Gallery, Paris; private collection
Literature: Jacques Dubourg and Françoise de Staël, Nicolas de Staël : Catalogue Raisonné des Peintures, Paris, 1968, n° 764, p. 316 (ill.); Françoise de Staël, Nicolas de Staël: Catalogue Raisonné de l’Œuvre Peint, Neuchâtel, 1997, n° 830, pp. 533, 676 (ill.); Françoise de Staël, Nicolas de Staël: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Lausanne, 2021, n° 830, pp. 489, 625 (ill.)

Nicolas de Staël (1914-1955) never stopped observing the sky. 'Marine' (1954) depicts a view of the Marseilles seaside and perfectly translates Staël's pictorial language thanks to its bold colours, saturated contrasts and the striking light that naturally represents the southern sun.

The linear geometry of the work is cut by the vertical mast of the boat, giving the composition its balance. The use of thin layers of paint also creates fluidity within the work. The artist, having never wanted to position herself between abstraction and figuration, nevertheless introduces certain figurative elements into his paintings. Full of vitality, 'Marine' was created at a key moment in Nicolas de Staël's artistic career, when his work was beginning to gain international recognition, and one year before the artist's death.