T00136 Marathon 1948
Inscribed 'Sta?l' b.l. and 'MARATHON' on stretcher
Oil on linen, 31 5/8 x 25 1/2 (85 x 65)
Purchased from Berggruen et Cie. (Grant-in-Aid) 1957
Prov: With Louis Carr?, Paris and New York (purchased from the artist); John L. Senior, Jr., New York, 1950; with Saidenberg Gallery, New York; with Berggruen, Paris
Exh: Advancing French Art, Louis Carr? Gallery, New York, April-May 1950 (26)
Lit: R.V. Gindertael, Nicolas de Sta?l (Paris 1951), p.9, repr. pl.9; Douglas Cooper, Nicolas de Sta?l (London 1961), pp.22-4, repr. pl.8 in colour; Andr? Chastel, Jacques Dubourg, Fran?oise de Sta?l and others, Nicolas de Sta?l (Paris 1968), No.134, p.99 and repr.
Repr: Terry Measham, The Moderns 1945-1975 (Oxford 1976), pl.94 in colour
The title 'Marathon' was probably a reference to the grimness of de Sta?l's daily existence at this period and to his long, hard struggle to evolve a personal style. Most of his paintings of 1946-8 are known simply as 'Composition', but the others tend to have titles of a similar kind, such as (1946) 'Harsh Life'; (1947) 'By Fits and Starts', 'Ravine', 'Resentment', 'Stone Throwing'; (1948) 'The Difficult Path'.
The back of the material on which this picture is painted has a number of scattered angular patches of dull red which form part of a repeat pattern. De Stacl appears to have painted on the front side of a piece of printed fabric and it is possible that he took certain of the shapes and their general disposition as his starting-point.
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, pp.702-3, reproduced p.702