Nicolas de Staël
T00607 Etude de Paysage
(Landscape Study) 1952
Inscribed on back 'Etude de paysage | A Yvonne Zervos | Amicalement | Staël | 1952'
Oil on millboard, 12 7/8 x 18 1/8 (33 x 46)
Purchased from the Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich, through Gimpel Fils (Grant-in-Aid) 1963
Prov: Mme Christian Zervos, Paris (gift from the artist); with Jacques Tronche, Paris; with Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich
Exh: Nicolas de Staël, Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich, April-May 1963 (13, repr. in colour); Gimpel Fils, London, June-August 1963 (13, repr. in colour)
Lit: André Chastel, Jacques Dubourg, Françoise de Staël and others, Nicolas de Staël (Paris 1968), No.530, p.229 and repr. as 'Etude à La Ciotat'
Repr: Studio, CLXVI, 1963, p.26 in colour; Guy Dumur, Staël (New York 1976), p.42 in colour
The turning-point of de Stael's development took place in 1951-2 when he started to change from a non-figurative to a figurative approach. He first began to paint directly from nature in the spring of 1952 when he embarked on a series of still lifes of flowers, then made several small landscapes out of doors on the motif in Normandy and in the Seine Valley. The present work, which appears to be a coastal scene, must have been done slightly later, when he returned to the South of France and worked for several weeks at Le Lavandou and in the neighbourhood of Marseilles. Although it is inscribed on the back simply 'Etude de Paysage', it appears in the catalogue raisonné of his work by Jacques Dubourg and Françoise de Staël as 'Study at La Ciotat' and can be compared with several rather similar paintings of La Ciotat done at the same time, such as oeuvre catalogue Nos.526, 527 and 532. Françoise de Staël, the artist's widow, writes that it must have been one of the studies which he made directly from nature, but that she cannot be completely certain it was done at La Ciotat.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.703, reproduced p.703