Nicolas de Staël is a major personality of Post-War abstraction, although he always refused to be connected to any group of artists. His career, which swung between figurative and abstract art, is concentrated into a period of fifteen years, from 1940 to his tragic death in 1955.
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Nicolas de Staël was born on January 5th, 1914 (according to the Gregorian calendar) in Saint-Petersburg, into a well-to-do family of White Russians of the Staël von Holtein family. His father, a major general, was vice-commander of the Peter and Paul Fortress in Saint-Petersburg. With the 1917 Revolution, Nicolas and his family fled to Poland. Orphaned at the age of 8, he and his two sisters were entrusted by his godmother to a family of friends in Brussels, Emmanuel and Charlotte Fricero, who had already hosted another Russian exile: Alexander Bereznikov.
Nicolas de Staël grew up and studied in Brussels. Contrary to his adoptive father’s aspirations, Nicolas de Staël turned very quickly to painting. He visited museums, galleries and during a trip to the Netherlands in June 1933, he delved into Dutch painting. In October of the same year, he entered the Brussels art school. He attended classes on drawing from the antique held by Henri van Haelen and met Madeleine Haupert who became a friend and who introduced him to abstract painting.
He also attended the Académie des Beaux-Arts of the Saint-Gilles suburb of Brussels, where he joined both the architecture classes given by Charles Malcause and the decorative painting course held by Georges de Vlamynck (called Géo de Vlamynck). Staël was asked to assist Vlamynck in the creation of murals at the Agriculture Pavilion of the 1935 Universal Exposition.
Nicolas de Staël travelled around Europe several times during 1934 to sharpen his eye and discover new horizons. He visited the south of France. In Paris, he discovered Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Chaïm Soutine and Georges Braque. The painter also travelled around Spain for four months, by bicycle with his friend Benoît Gilsoul. During this study trip, Nicolas de Staël took a lot of notes and made many sketches. Spain enchanted him and he continued his journey to Andalusia alongside Emmanuel d’Hooghvorst. Nicolas de Staël painted watercolours that he sold in Barcelona at that time.
In July 1936, Nicolas de Staël left for Morocco, supported financially by the Baron de Brouwer, a collector, to whom he promised to send the works he made. At Marrakech in 1937, he met the painter Jeannine Guillou and her cousin the artist Jean Deyrolle. Originally from Brittany, Jeannine was married to the Polish painter Olek Teslar and was living with their son Antek – the future writer, poet and playwright Antoine Tudal, in a sort of community in the south of Morocco.
Nicolas was attracted to this established painter whose talent was already recognized. He was still looking for his own style. Jeannine supported Nicolas in his search. Nicolas and Jeannine became closer and the Teslar couple separated.
After Morocco, Nicolas and Jeannine went on a voyage of discovery to southern Italy in 1938. At that time, the links with the Fricero family weakened. They were worried for Nicolas’s artistic career.
After Italy, the painter Nicolas de Staël moved with Jeannine and her son Antek to Paris. They lived a bohemian life, in a very precarious situation. Staël was still searching for his style. He attended the Académie Fernand Léger for a time and copied works at the Louvre. At this time, Staël met the art historian Pierre Courthion who would later write about his art. Lacking money, Nicolas de Staël returned for a while to Belgium to work on the frescoes of the French Pavilion for the International Exposition on the Technique of Water at Liège in 1939.
Two months before war broke out, the painter Nicolas de Staël met the gallerist Jeanne Bucher who appreciated his work particularly. Jeanine fell seriously ill and spent her convalescence at Concarneau. Staël produced a large number of figurative portraits of Jeannine. He confided later: “When I was young, I painted the portrait of Jeannine. A real portrait is after all the summit of art”. Arno Mansar added: “He is both a Picasso of the blue period and also a souvenir of El Greco’s elongations that he had admired in Spain.”
From January to September 1940, Nicolas de Staël was mobilised and joined the Foreign Legion. He was sent first to Algeria and then Tunisia where he was placed in the army’s geographic service and worked on updating the maps of the military staff of the protectorate.
In September 1940, he was reunited with Jeannine who had moved to Nice, in the Zone Libre. Another bohemian life began under the Mediterranean sun. Nicolas de Staël continued his artistic studies: the artist’s first works combine Cubism and Fauvism. The de Staëls surrounded themselves with a circle of artist friends: Alberto and Suzie Magnelli, Henri Goetz and Christine Boumeester, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Fred Klein and Marie Raymond – Antek and the little Yves Klein also became friends. All this community of artists saw each other regularly, inviting each other to their homes and gathering at the Matarasso bookshop where they met the poets Jacques Prévert and Francis Carco.
Jeannine got an exclusive contract with the Nice dealer Mockers, but Nicolas de Staël still had difficulty selling his works. His friend, the painter Félix Aublet suggested then that he do some decorative work to meet the family’s needs, in a difficult climate of penury and rationing. In February 1942, a little girl was born, Anne, who fascinated her father. He abandoned landscape for a while to return to portraits, especially of Jeannine.
Gradually, Nicolas de Staël’s style established itself. He locked himself up for entire days in his studio: he painted a lot, but destroyed as much as he produced. Very close to the older Alberto Magnelli, whom he regularly visited at Plan de Grasse, the painter Nicolas de Staël continued his artistic development. From 1942, his painting became abstract. His backgrounds were grey, uniform, from which would emerge: ellipses, grids. Little depth in these compositions. He also began to have his first collectors.
After three years in Nice, the couple and two children settled again in Paris in 1943. During the occupation, these bohemian years in Paris were very difficult. Through Jeanne Bucher, they were able to settle in the 17th arrondissement in a townhouse belonging to Pierre Chareau, who had left for the USA, which was lent to them.
In Paris, Staël met César Domela, who became a close friend. He exhibited alongside him with Vassily Kandinsky at Jeanne Bucher’s gallery in February 1944. The exhibition was appreciated by major artistic personalities such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and André Lanskoy, but the general critical reaction was not good at a time when abstract art was perceived as degenerate. A second exhibition, Peintures Abstraites Compositions de Matières was then mounted at the Galerie L’Esquisse in Paris, with Jeanne Bucher as intermediary, and it brought together works by Kandinsky, Magnelli, Domela and Staël.
In May 1944, the Galerie L’Esquisse organized Nicolas de Staël’s first solo exhibition. A few drawings were sold. At this time, a solid friendship developed with Georges Braque who appreciated his work a lot. The two painters became close and inspired each other. Staël often visited him at his studio in Varengeville in Normandy while in Paris, they had neighbouring studios in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.
In April 1945, Nicolas de Staël exhibited again at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher. Among the buyers, the industrialist Jean Bauret is noteworthy. He became one of the most important collectors of Nicolas de Staël, and also a friend.
The family’s financial situation continued to be catastrophic and Jeannine’s health deteriorated seriously: she died in February 1946. Although profoundly affected by Jeannine’s death, Nicolas de Staël married Françoise Chapouton a few months later. She had been looking after Antek and Anne since the age of nineteen. The new couple had three children: Laurence born in 1947, Jérôme born in 1948 and Gustave born in 1954. Still mourning Jeannine’s death, the year 1946 was an especially dark period in the work of the painter Nicolas de Staël.
Seeking commercial solutions, Nicolas de Staël decided to work with the art dealer Jacques Dubourg, an expert on the Impressionists and dealer of 20th century painters, based on the boulevard Haussmann. Afterwards, he would favour this dealer, who was less well-known, to the Galerie Louis Carré, although he had signed a contract with this second gallery in October 1946. In preferring Jacques Dubourg, Nicolas de Staël made a strategic decision: to be the star painter of a small gallery instead of an artist among several in a more prestigious gallery.
Living with his family in the large studio at 7 rue Gauguet in Paris, near the Parc Montsouris, the painter Nicolas de Staël met Theodore Schempp, an American dealer and broker who offered to show his work in the USA.
At that time, the poet and publisher, Pierre Lecuire wrote Voir Nicolas de Staël, a book-poem in a collaboration with the painter that included two engravings on copper. It was published in 1953.
Refusing to belong to any artistic movement, Nicolas de Staël refused to exhibit in the first exhibition of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles held in 1946, which focused on a strict form of abstraction.
In 1947, Nicolas de Staël exhibited at the Dominican convent of Le Saulchoir at Étiolles, with Georges Braque, André Lanskoy and Henry Laurens, through the intermediary of Father Laval. A great admirer of de Staël’s art, Fr Laval also bought one of his paintings from him for the refectory of the convent of Saint-Jacques in the 13th arrondissement of Paris.
At that time, Nicolas de Staël’s palette evolved, became brighter. The painter ardently pursued his study of colour. The succession of births had an impact on the painter’s inspiration. His daughter Anne has emphazised: “de Staël’s joy at the time of a birth was a very highly placed note of emotion (…) it was the reminder of the “birth”, reminder of a moment when “light” is poured over you” In April 1948, Nicolas de Staël was naturalized French.
Although he started many paintings, Nicolas de Staël had difficulty finishing them. His perfectionism forced him to reach the “supreme masterpiece” to use the words of Pierre Lecuire. He continued his development towards more airy compositions, more coloured, marked by successions of layers of impasto.
In 1949, invited by the art critic Léon Degand, works by Staël were included in the inaugural exhibition of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo in Brazil. This same year, Nicolas de Staël participated in two group exhibitions: at the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Lyon and at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher in Paris.
The year 1950 marked the first signs of fame for Nicolas de Staël. Reviews were good and favourable, especially those by Christian Zervos. In June, the solo exhibition organized by Jacques Dubourg was a success.
Works by the painter Nicolas de Staël entered American collections, especially museums. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts bought the painting Rue Gauguet of 1949 from him and MoMa in New York acquired Peinture 1947 in 1951.
It was at this time that he met the poet René Char though the historian Georges Duthuit. From this encounter was born a deep friendship and wonderful collaborations between the poet and painter on illustrated books, such as Poèmes de René Char – bois de Nicolas de Staël published in 1951.
Between this work on wood and his work on paper exhibited by Dubourg during the month of May 1951, the painter Nicolas de Staël gradually turned towards a smaller format to create little still lifes: apples or his series of paintings of Petites Bouteilles (Small Bottles). An admirer of the work of Van Gogh, he also began to paint flowers.
The final four years of the artist’s life were marked by “continual renewal” to use the words of the critic Daniel Dobbels. They were also especially prolific years: in 1952, Nicolas de Staël painted as many as 240 paintings “you have to work a lot, a ton of passion and a hundred grams of patience” the painter claimed. Nicolas de Staël returned then to landscape, inspired by the Île-de-France and the South.
In 1952, an exhibition was devoted to Nicolas de Staël at the Matthiersen Gallery in London, but was a failure: his painting was not understood. Staël was troubled by this strange welcome and began to doubt his painting. He donated at this time his picture Les Toits of 1952 to the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris.
On March 26th, 1952, Staël and Françoise attended a France-Sweden soccer match at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. This event stunned the artist, impressed by the shock of colours and movement on the pitch. This sensation, this sudden inspiration was to animate Staël for several days. He created multiple sketches, paintings in oil on canvas and on card, in large and small formats. This is the series of Footballeurs in which colour explodes, with as its apotheosis the huge canvas Le Parc des Princes (200 x 350 cm), now in a private collection. But when he exhibited his flagship composition at the Salon de Mai the same year, it was met with general incomprehension: critics and friends lamented his work, criticizing him for a return to figuration, which was perceived as been retrograde by those who supported abstraction, such as Jean Hélion and Jean Arp. To which Staël responded: “I do not oppose abstract and figurative painting. A painting should be both abstract and figurative. Abstract as a wall, figurative is the representation of a space.”
If the painting was hardly appreciated in Paris, it impressed the New York dealer, Paul Rosenberg who took on the painter Nicolas de Staël with an exclusive contract as early as the following year and he then promoted his work in the USA efficiently. In March 1953, the solo exhibition of Nicolas de Staël at the Knoedler Gallery in New York was also successful.
Music then became a new source of inspiration for Nicolas de Staël. During a concert organized in the home of his friend the socialite Suzanne Tézenas, who held a salon in Paris, Staël was struck by the “colour of the sounds”. He then turned to contemporary music: Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen and jazz, especially Sidney Bechet whom he admired and to whom he paid homage in Les Musiciens, Souvenir de Sidney Becket, now at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris (one version) and Les Musiciens, now at the Phillips Collection in Washington. Other paintings are inspired by music, such as L’Orchestre of 1953, a large canvas now at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris and Les Indes Galantes of 1952-1953 (private collection), inspired by the eponymous opera-ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau.
In search of brighter and still more intense colours, Nicolas de Staël moved to the south of France. First, he rented a silk farm at Langes, and then he bought the house known as Le Castelet at Ménerbes in the Luberon. This new place inspired a series of paintings Ménerbes. Enthusiastic, he produced abundantly. In the south of France, Nicolas de Staël met Douglas Cooper, an English collector of avant-garde art and art historian who was based in the Gard.
At that time, he left with his entire family and two friends Ciska Grillet, a friend of René Char and Jeanne Mathieu, on a voyage around Italy in a van. In Sicily the town of Agrigento inspired very brightly coloured paintings in him.
In February 1954, Paul Rosenberg organized a solo exhibition of Nicolas de Staël: Recent Paintings by Nicolas de Staël, in which the paintings done in Ménerbes, still lifes and flowers were shown, among others. This was a real success. Romain Gary, at the time a French diplomat in New York, was transported by Nicolas de Staël’s work and wrote to him: “You’re the only modern painter who gives genius to the viewer.”
A great dealer, an established value among his colleagues, Paul Rosenberg proved to be an efficient promotor of Staël, both among private collectors and with American museums. This is why the work of Nicolas de Staël is so abundant today in American institutions.
Regarding matters of the heart, Staël fell madly in love with another woman: Jeanne Mathieu, whom he had met at Lagnes. Fascinated by this woman who accompanied him and his family on their trip around Italy, she inspired an entire series of nudes. Despite a trip to Spain where he admired the art in the Prado, he could not abandon his passion for Jeanne. This woman obsessed him and in October 1953, he separated from Françoise.
In June 1954, a new exhibition of Nicolas de Staël was held at Jacques Dubourg in Paris where works inspired by the Mediterranean regions were shown. The critics’ reactions were mixed: Léon Degand remained perplexed while Alain Jouffroy appreciated his work.
Living alone in Paris during the summer of 1954, Nicolas de Staël produced new paintings of still lifes and new landscapes of Paris and landscapes of the North Sea, with a gentler palette.
Jeanne Mathieu was married and living near Nice. Nicolas de Staël, mad with love, then moved to Antibes in the Autumn of 1954 where he organized his studio to be closer to her. He spent all winter there, painting very productively: the port, the sea, the studios, still lifes… and nudes.
The painter Nicolas de Staël intensified his production of paintings. His work evolved, as did his technique. He abandoned the impasto worked with a palette knife and spatula for a more diluted colour, applied with cotton or gauze on the canvas. This new style disturbed some collectors and critics, which shook Staël. “I’m worried for the difference in light, light from Antibes to Paris. It’s possible that in Paris the paintings don’t have the resonance that they have in my studio in Antibes. This is a worry.” He wrote to his friend Suzanne Tézenas.
Shortly before he died, Nicolas de Staël made the painting Les Mouettes (1955, private collection) as a tribute to the painter Vincent van Gogh: another anguished personality, who had created his Weatfield with Crows shortly before committing suicide. Bernard Heitz also wrote: “in his frenzy to paint, he continuously approached the depths, finding harmonies that nobody before him had ever dared to try. A tense, nervous painter, always on the edge, like the final painting of Vincent van Gogh whom he joined in suicide.”
The final painting of the artist Nicolas de Staël is inspired by music. On a gigantic canvas, six metres wide, he painted a work that is an apotheosis: Le Concert. Tormented by the criticisms and his relationship with Jeanne which was faltering, Nicolas de Staël painted this colossal composition feverishly. A highlight of his creative work, this painting is today in the Musée Picasso at Antibes.
After this final ultimate effort, he wrote two letters: one to his dealer and friend Jacques Dubourg, the other to his daughter Anne, and then threw himself off the roof of the building of his studio. It was March 16th, 1955. He was 41 years old.
© Diane de Polignac Gallery / Astrid de Monteverde
Translation: Jane Mc Avock
Aichi (Japan), Menard Art Museum
Aix-en-Provence, Musée Granet
Antibes, Musée Picasso
Boston, MA, Museum of Fine Arts
Buffalo, NY, Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Chicago, IL, Art Institute
Colmar, Musée Unterlinden
Dijon, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Dusseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen
Edinburgh, Scottish National Galleries
Fort Worth, TX, Modern Art Museum
Fukuoka (Japan), Fukuoka Art Museum
Geneva, Fondation Gandur pour l’Art
Grenoble, Musée de Grenoble
Hanover, Sprengel Museum
Houston, TX, The Museum of Fine Arts
Karlsruhe (Germany), Staatliche Kunsthalle
Le Havre, Musée d’Art Moderne André-Malraux (MuMa)
Lille Métropole, Lille Métropole Musée d’Art Moderne, d’Art Contemporain et d’Art Brut
Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art
Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon
Madrid, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
Marseille, Musée Cantini
Martigny (Switzerland), Fondation Gianadda
Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria
Milwaukee, WI, Milwaukee Art Museum
Montpellier, Musée Fabre
New York, NY, Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, NY, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Oslo, Sonja Henie and Niels Onstad Foundation
Paris, Musée d’Art moderne de Paris
Paris, Musée national d’Art moderne – Centre Pompidou
Rennes, Musée des beaux-arts
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Toledo, OH, Museum of Art
Troyes, Musée d’Art moderne
Washington D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art
Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection
Group exhibition, “Dietrich” Room, Brussels, 1936
Peintures et Gouaches de Kandinsky, Trois Tableaux-Objets de César Domela, Peintures et Dessins de Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jeanne-Bucher, Paris, 1944
Peintures Abstraites, Compositions de Matières, Domela, Kandinsky, Magnelli, de Staël, Galerie L’Esquisse, Paris, 1944
Nicolas de Staël, Galerie L’Esquisse, Paris, 1944
Salon d’Automne, Paris, 1944, 1946, 1951, 1952
Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jeanne-Bucher, Paris, 1945
20 ans chez Jeanne Bucher – Aquarelles, Dessins et Gouaches, Galerie Jeanne- Bucher, Paris, 1945
Salon de Mai, Paris, 1945-1947, 1949, 1951-1955
Fransche Kunst van Bonnard tot Heden, Gemeentemuseum Van’s-Gravenhage, La Haye ; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo ; Nykytade Nutvikonst, Helsinki, 1947
Adam, Lanskoy, Laurens, Nicolas de Staël, couvent des Dominicains, Étiolles, 1948
Les Grands Courants de la Peinture Contemporaine, de Manet à nos jours, Musée de Lyon, 1949
Group exhibition, Galerie Jeanne-Bucher, Paris, 1949
Do Figurativismo ao Abstracionismo, Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, 1949
Contemporary Art: Great Britain, United States, France, Art Gallery of Toronto, 1949
Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Theodore Schempp and Co., New York, 1950
Nicolas de Staël, Peintures, Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris, 1950
Foreningen Fransk Kunst: Levende Farver, Udvalgte Malerei og Billedtoepper af Nulevende Fransk Kunstnere, Charlottenburg Kunstakademie, Berlin, 1950
Young Painters from U.S. and France, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 1950
Modem Art to Live With, The Phillips Gallery, Washington, 1950
Französische Malerei und Plastik 1938-1948, Berlin, 1950
Mostra Internazionale del Disegno Moderno, Bergamo, 1950
Modern French Masters, Galerie Louis Carré, New York, 1951
Advancing French Art, Travelling group exhibition in the USA: Louisville, Bloomington, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, 1951-1952
Poèmes de René Char, Bois de Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris, 1951
Nicolas de Staël, Dessins, Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris, 1951
Nicolas de Staël, Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings, Galerie Matthiersen, London, 1952
La Nouvelle École de Paris, Galerie de Babylone, Paris, 1952
Paintings by William Congden, Nicolas de Staël, The Phillips Gallery, Washington, 1952
Malerei in Paris Heute, Kunsthaus, Zurich, 1952
Young Painters: École de Paris, Royal Scottish Academy Galleries, Edinburgh, 1952
Europe, the New Generation, Museum of Modem Art, New York, Travelling exhibition in the USA, 1952
Nicolas de Staël, Paintings, Drawings and Lithographs, Knoedler Galleries, New York, 1953
An Exhibition of Paintings by Nicolas de Staël, The Phillips Gallery, Washington, 1953
The Classic Tradition in Contemporary Art, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1953
IIe Biennale de São Paulo, São Paulo, 1953
Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris, 1954
Recent Paintings by Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Paul Rosenberg and Co., New York, 1954
L’École de Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 1954, 1955
Tendances actuelles de l’art français, Kursaal, Ostende, 1954
XXVIIe Biennale de Venise, Venice, 1954
Nicolas de Staël, travelling retrospective: Norton School of Art, Palm Beach ; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis ; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, 1955
Loan Exhibition, Galerie Paul Rosenberg and Co., New York, 1955
Nicolas de Staël, Musée Grimaldi, Antibes, 1955
Nicolas de Staël, exposition itinérante 1955-1956 : Fine Arts Museum; Houston ; Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo (Michigan) ; De Cordova Dana Museum, Lincoln (Massachusetts) ; The Phillips Gallery, Washington D.C ; Fort Worth Arts Center, Fort Worth; Rockefeller Center, New York ; Cornell University, Ithaca ; Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, New York, 1955
Art in the 20th Century, San Francisco Museum of Art, 1955
Nicolas de Staël 1914-1955, Musée National d’Art Moderne ; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 1956
Nicolas de Staël 1914-1955, White Chapel Art Gallery, London, 1956
Hommage à Nicolas de Staël, Arthur Tooth and Sons Ltd., London, 1956
Hommage à Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris, 1957
Nicolas de Staël, Rétrospective, Kunsthalle, Bern,1957
Nicolas de Staël, Collages, Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris, 1958
43 dessins de Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jeanne-Bucher, Paris, 1958
Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Paul Rosenberg and Co., New York, 1958
Nicolas de Staël 1914-1955, Rétrospective, Musée Réattu, Arles, 1958
Nicolas de Staël, Rétrospective, Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover ; Kunstverein, Hamburg, 1959
Nicolas de Staël, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, Turin, 1960
Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Paul Rosenberg and Co., New York, 1963
Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Beyler, Basel, 1964
Nicolas de Staël 1914-1955, Musée Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1965
Nicolas de Staël, Rétrospective, Kunsthaus, Zürich, 1965
Travelling retrospective: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston ; The Art Institute Chicago, Chicago ; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1966
Nicolas de Staël, 1914-1955, Painting from Collections in Britain, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 1967
Hommage à Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jacques Dubourg, 1969
Staël, Fondation Maeght. Saint-Paul-de-Vence, 1972
Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jiyugaoka, Tokyo, 1973
De Staël, Musée d’Unterlinden, Colmar, 1977
123 dessins de Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, 1979
Nicolas de Staël, l’Œuvre Gravé, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1979
Nicolas de Staël, Rétrospective, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 1981
Revoir Nicolas de Staël, Galerie Jeanne-Bucher, Paris, 1981
Nicolas de Staël, Retrospective, The Tate Gallery, London, 1981
Nicolas de Staël, Ginza Art Center, Tokyo, 1982
Nicolas de Staël, Peintures et Dessins, Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, Grenoble, 1984
Nicolas de Staël, 1949, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes, 1986
Nicolas de Staël à Antibes, Septembre 1954 – Mars 1955, Musée Picasso, Antibes, 1986
Nicolas de Staël in America, The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C, 1990
Nicolas de Staël in America, Cincinnati Art Museum, 1990
Nicolas de Staël, Retrospectiva, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 1991
Nicolas de Staël, Rétrospective de l’Œuvre Peinte, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de- Vence, 1991
Nicolas de Staël (1914-1955), travelling retrospective in Japan : Museum of Art Tobu, Tokyo ; Musée d’Art Moderne, Kamakura ; Museum of Art, Hiroshima, 1993
Nicolas de Staël, Peintures et Dessins, Hôtel de Ville de Paris, Paris, 1994
Nicolas de Staël, Retrospective, Fondation Magnani Rocca, Parma, 1994
Nicolas de Staël, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny (Switzerland), 1995
Solo exhibition, Astrup Fearnley Museet for Kunst, Oslo, 1997
Nicolas de Staël, Retrospective, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2003
L’Envolée lyrique, Paris 1945-1956, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, 2006
Nicolas de Staël 1945-1955, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, 2010
Les Sujets de l’abstraction, Peinture non- figurative de la Seconde École de Paris (1946-1962), exposition collective, Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Musée Rath, Genève / Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 2011
L’Art en guerre, France 1938-1947, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 2012, exposition itinérante : Arte en guerra, Francia 1938-1947 ; Museo Guggenheim, Bilbao, 2013
Staël, la figure à Nu, 1951 – 1955, Musée Picasso, Antibes, 2014
Nicolas de Staël. Lumières du Nord. Lumières du Sud, Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux, Le Havre, 2014
Solo exhibition, Château Kairos – Cueillir l’Eternité dans l’Instant, Château de Gaasbeek (Belgium), 2017
Nicolas de Staël en Provence, Hôtel de Caumont, Aix-en-Provence, 2018
Jean Cassou (texts), Nicolas de Staël 1944-1955, t, Paris, Musée National d’Art Moderne, 1956
Roger van Gindertaël (Texts), 43 dessins de Nicolas de Staël, exhibition catalogue, Paris Galerie Jeanne-Bucher, 1958
Werner Schmalenbach (texts), Nicolas de Staël, exhibition catalogue, Hanovre, Kestner-Gesellschaft, 1959
Franco Russoli (texts), Nicolas de Staël, exhibition catalogue, Turin, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, 1960
Roger van Gindertaël (texts), Nicolas de Staël 1914-1955, exhibition catalogue, Musée Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam ; Kunsthaus, Zürich ; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston ; The Chicago Art Institute, Chicago ; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1965
Douglas Cooper et Roger van Gindertaël (texts), Nicolas de Staël, exhibition catalogue, Bâle, Galerie Beyeler, 1966
Jacques Dubourg et Françoise de Staël, Nicolas de Staël, Catalogue raisonné des peintures, Paris, Éditions Le Temps, 1968
André Chastel (texts), Staël, exhibition catalogue, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, 1972
Guy Dumur, Nicolas de Staël, Paris, Flammarion, 1975
Jean-Pierre Jouffroy, La mesure de Nicolas de Staël, Neuchâtel, Ides et Calendes, 1981
Pierre Gaudibert (texts), Nicolas de Staël, peintures et dessins, exhibition catalogue, Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, Grenoble, 1984
Danièle Giraudy, Jean Leymarie et Germain Viatte, Nicolas de Staël à Antibes, Antibes, Musée Picasso, 1986
Arno Mansar, Nicolas de Staël, Paris, La Manufacture, Paris, 1990
Eliza Rathbone, Nicolas de Staël in America, exhibition catalogue, Washington D.C., The Phillips Collection, 1990
Jean-Louis Prat, Harry. Bellet, Nicolas de Staël, rétrospective de l’œuvre peint, catalogue d’exposition, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Fondation Maeght, 1991
Jean-Louis Prat, Harry Bellet (with the letters of the painter commented by Germain Viatte), Nicolas de Staël, exhibition catalogue, Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, 1995
Arno Mansar, Nicolas de Staël, l’aventure en peinture, Waterloo, La Renaissance du livre, 1999
Françoise de Staël, Germain Viatte, André Chastel, Anne de Staël, Nicolas de Staël : catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre peint, Neuchâtel, Ides et Calendes, 1997
Pierre Boulez, Jean-Paul Ameline, Anne Hiddlestion, Anne Majherbe, Guitemie Maldonado, Germain Viatte, Eliza Rathbone, Nicolas de Staël, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Centre Pompidou, 2003
Daniel Dobbels, Staël, Paris, Hazan, 1994, reprint in 2009
Laurent Greilsamer, Le Prince foudroyé : la vie de Nicolas de Staël, Paris, Fayard, 1998
Jean-Louis Prat, Thomas Augais, Anne de Staël, Nicolas de Staël 1945-1955, exhibition catalogue, Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, 2010
Jean-Claude Marcadé, Nicolas de Staël : peintures et dessins, Paris, Hazan, 2012
Gustave de Staël and Marie du Bouchet, Nicolas de Staël en Provence, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Hazan, 2018