Nicolas de Staël

L’Eclair [Flash of Lightning]

About this artwork

De Staël’s work of the late 1940s is characterised by abstract criss-cross marks. Densely packed and paint-encrusted blocks of colour contrast with the smooth application of paint in the artist’s later work. Made at a time when de Staël was struggling to develop a personal style, it is likely that the title was chosen after the painting was completed, rather than it being a representation of lightning. Although the dramatic clash of diagonals suggests conflict, there is still harmony in the work through the use of red accents to complement the palette of greens. The textured surface and tangled web of lines reflect the problematic nature of making art after the horrors of the Second World War – an issue tackled by many artists, such as Giacometti with his stick-thin figurative sculptures.

  • title:
    L’Eclair [Flash of Lightning]
  • accession number:
    GMA 2795
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    1946
  • measurements:
    115.50 x 89.00 cm
  • credit line:
    Purchased 1983
  • copyright:
    © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018.
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Nicolas de Staël

Nicolas de Staël