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De Staël used the title Composition

for many paintings

of this period. It signalled not so much that the images were nonrepresentational but that they had been literally ‘composed’, using areas or blocks of carefully modulated colour. In this work, de Stäel's distinctive use of shades of grey creates a sense of light and space. Although there are no obvious allusions to recognisable figures or objects, the artist believed that his choice of colours and the shapes were based on his perception of reality.

March 2009