Staël, Landscape, Antibes

Nicolas de STAËL (1914-1955), Landscape, Antibes, 1955, oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Nicolas de STAËL (1914-1955)
Landscape, Antibes
1955
oil on canvas
116 x 89 cm
© MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Nicolas de Staël (1914–1955) rose to artistic fame in the mid-20th century. The bulk of his production was concentrated over a fifteen-year period, between 1938–1939 and 1955, the year he took his own life in Antibes. The orphan of a Russian family in exile, he grew up in Brussels, where he studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts. After several trips to Morocco, Spain and Italy, he moved to France with his companion, the painter Jeannine Guillou. In 1941, like many artists, he headed to the unoccupied area of the country. A decisive moment in his career occurred in Nice when he met Alberto Magnelli, whose abstract paintings had a strong influence on the direction of his work.

He built his compositions with strong lines of force and contrasts between shadow and light, before gradually moving toward an abstraction he likened to masonry, with slabs of thick paint applied with a palette knife.The Roofs (1952, Musée National d'Art Moderne) marks both the culmination of this period and a turning point in his work. With this painting, Nicolas de Staël returned to the subject, the study of nature and light; the horizon line and sky appear. The artist continued to paint at a feverish rate in his final years. He painted and drew outdoors, during his travels that took him from the Pas-de-Calais to Sicily, by way of Ile-de-France, Normandy and southern France, and worked the canvas with increasingly fluid paint.

Landscape, Antibes joined the MuMa collection in 2009 as part of the second Senn-Foulds donation. The artwork was painted in the final weeks of the artist's life in Antibes, where he had moved in1954. The maritime landscape is almost abstract, probably depicting a view from the Cap d’Antibes. The work was painted quickly, imperiously, like all those in the final months of his life: landscapes, marines, still-lifes, ghostly nudes, until that ultimate and monumental painting now at the Musée Picasso in Antibes, The Concert.

Artworks in context : 20th century (5)

Nicolas de STAËL (1914-1955), Landscape, Antibes, 1955, oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Jean DUBUFFET (1901-1985), Ontogenesis, 1975, vinyl on panel, 251 x 316 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Fernand LÉGER (1881-1955), Two Women on a Blue Background, 1952, oil on canvas, 54 x 65 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
André LHOTE (1885-1962), Trees at Avignon, ca. 1909-1910, oil on canvas, 81.5 x 54.3 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013
Bernard BOUTET DE MONVEL (1881-1949), New York, oil on canvas, 42.1 x 42.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel — © ADAGP, Paris, 2013