Paris Museum of Modern Art opens major show on Nicolas de Staël

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"Le Parc des Princes" in the Nicolas de Staël exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Around 200 works, 50 of which have never or only rarely been seen, will be exhibited in eleven rooms until January 2024.

Paris (dpa) – The Museum of Modern Art in Paris is dedicating a large show to the French painter Nicolas de Staël, with around 50 of the 200 works on display never been on display before.

The show is an effort to move past the legend attached to the artist, who died by suicide at the age of 41 in Antibes in southern France.

It is hoped that the show will make it possible to dispel the myth of the “unhappy prince” and to look at his work in a new way, said co-curator and art historian Pierre Wat, who explained to dpa that the focus is instead on the creative process.

From his childhood as an orphan in Brussels and his exile after the Russian Revolution and up to his death, the painter’s life is one of the main themes for reading his work.

The artist created works that shrugged off trends and art scene classifications, as the 11 rooms in the Museum of Modern Art show. He was highly productive and experimented constantly, ranging from dark and heavy in the 1940s to a more dazzling, colourful and luminous output at the end of his career.

Thanks to the help of the Nicolas de Staël Committee, the curators were able to track down numerous works from private collections and obtain loans from important institutions.

His masterpieces are not missing either, including “Agrigente” and “Le Parc des Princes” – colourful works in which he erases the distinction between abstraction and figuration.

Nicolas de Staël produced over a thousand paintings and almost as many drawings in less than 15 years. Life was so sad without paintings that he hurried to fill it with his works, the artist once said, as can be read in the catalogue of the exhibition , which runs until January 21.