Nicolas de Staël. Lumières du Nord. Lumières du Sud

from June 07 to November 09, 2014

Nicolas de Staël (Saint-Pétersbourg, 1914 – Antibes, 1955)
1914 | 5 January. Nicolas Vladimirovich de Staël von Holstein born in Saint Petersburg.

1919 | Compelled to leave Russia by the Revolution, the Staël family settle in Poland.

1922 | Nicolas de Staël and his two sisters are orphaned. They are taken in by the Friceros, a Russian family living in Belgium.

1933 | Staël enrols as a student at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Saint-Gilles-lez-Bruxelles and the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Travels to Holland and France.

1934 | Travels to Spain and the South of France.

1936-1937 | Staël travels to Morocco. Meets painter Jeannine Guillou in Marrakesh. She moves in with him.

1938 | Travels to Italy. Returns to France, where he makes his home.

1939 | Enlists in Foreign Legion. Meets gallery-owner Jeanne Bucher, who supports his work.

1940 | Staël is demobilized and moves to Nice, in the zone libre of occupied France. Meets pioneers of abstract art Magnelli, Delaunay (Sonia) and Arp.

1942 | Develops own version of abstract art.

1943 | Moves to Paris.

1944 | Jeanne Bucher exhibits Staël alongside Kandinsky and Domela. Staël meets Georges Braque.

1945 | Solo exhibition at the Jeanne Bucher Gallery.

1946 | Jeannine Guillou dies in February. Staël marries Françoise Chapouton in May.

1947 | Sets up studio in Rue Gauguet, in Paris.

1948 | Obtains French nationality.

1949 | Travels to Netherlands. Meets historian Georges Duthuit and philosopher Jean Grenier.

1950 | The National Museum of Modern Art exhibits a large abstract composition painted in 1949, the first of Staël's works to be purchased by a public collection.

1951 | Meets first René Char and then Suzanne Tézenas. Tézenas welcomes Staël into her salon, a meeting-place for philosophers, painters, writers, poets and musicians such as Cioran, Boulez, Messiaen, Michaux and Cingria.

1952 | Develops new version of figurative art. Donates The Rooftops to National Museum of Modern Art. Attends evening football match between France and Sweden at the Parc des Princes stadium, embarks on a series entitled Footballers.

1953 | Travels to Italy and Sicily. Buys former fort of Le Castelet in Ménerbes (Vaucluse).

1954 | Moves to Antibes in autumn.

1955 | Commits suicide in Antibes on 16 March.
Denise COLOMB (1902-2004), Nicolas de Staël in his studio, Rue Gauguet, Paris, 1954, photograph. © Ministère de la Culture — Médiathèque du Patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Denise Colomb — Service de presse, MuMa le Havre
Denise COLOMB (1902-2004), Nicolas de Staël in his studio, Rue Gauguet, Paris, 1954, photograph. © Ministère de la Culture — Médiathèque du Patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Denise Colomb — Service de presse, MuMa le Havre