Le Bateau [The Boat]
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2004

Reference URL

Le Bateau [The Boat] 1954
'The Boat' was probably painted on a painting trip de Staël made to the north coast of France in the summer of 1954. After previously painting in an abstract style, de Staël had decided to reintroduce figurative elements into his work in 1952. Although the painting still retains strong aspects of abstraction, we can clearly identify the boat against the deep blue sky, on a dark sea. The artist had also recently abandoned the use of a palette knife and heavy impasto for much thinner, translucent paint, which he applied with brushes.

Glossary Open

Abstract art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.

Figurative art

A general term for art that refers to the real, visible world, used more specifically for the representation of the human figure.


The textured surface of a painting resulting from the thick application of paint.

Palette knife

A small tool used for mixing and applying paint.

Abstract art, Figurative art, Impasto, Palette knife


  • Acc. No. GMA 817
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 46.30 x 61.00 cm (framed: 71.90 x 86.80 x 8.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1962