Nicolas de Stael

Composition 1950


Not on display

Nicolas de Stael 1914–1955
Oil paint on board
Support: 1248 × 794 mm
frame: 1420 × 967 × 90 mm
Purchased 1980

Display caption

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.

Gallery label, March 2009

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Catalogue entry


Inscribed ‘Staël’ bottom left
Oil on hardboard, 49 1/8 × 31 1/8 (124.8 × 79.2)
Purchased from E.J. Power (Grant-in-Aid) 1980
Prov: with Jacques Dubourg, Paris; with Mayor Gallery, London; E.J. Power, London, 1956
Exh: Nicolas de Staël 1914–1955, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, May–June 1956 (16, repr.); Nicolas de Staël, Grand Palais, Paris, May–August 1981 (45, colour); Tate Gallery, October–November 1981 (45, colour)
Lit: Jacques Dubourg and Françoise de Staël, Nicolas de Staël, Paris 1968, no.259, p.145 repr.
Repr: Jean Pierre Jouffroy, La Mesure de Nicolas de Staël, Neuchâtel 1981, pl.21 in colour

[no further details]

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984

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