Yellow and Green Rectangles 1951

Nicolas de STAËL (Russia/1914-France/1955)
oil on canvas 129.7x97.4cm

Shades of yellow, green, and red intermingle with each other, shattering the calm serenity of the grid-like arrangement of rectangles. The thickly applied paint conveys an image seething with materiality, giving a sense of motion to the calm compositional structure. This delicate intermingling of the "static" and the "active" makes this painting a fascinating work of art. Born into the Russian nobility, De Staël fled his homeland during the Russian Revolution and lived out his life as a painter in Southern France. The majority of his oeuvre consists of abstract paintings; from 1952 onward, however, he also began to develop a representational style of painting. This work was created in 1951, just prior to his stylistic shift to the representational, and therefore may be regarded in some ways to be the culmination of de Staël's abstract painting style.

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