Monday, 1 June 2009

From Elqui 1 to more fields via de Stael

Nicolas de Stael, Landscape: the road to Uzes, 1954
Oil on Canvas, 80x53.4 cm, private collection

There's someone I haven't been able to get out of my mind for the past few weeks. - Well, the title already gives it away. De Stael's landscapes are on my mind rather persistently. Quite some time back I enthused about Agrigente when I came across him via Chris's admiration for him. I did a few experiments with his compositions to help me work out the final abstractions from the first fields. And then I stopped.

I need to go back. No: First I really need to see some of his paintings in real life. But hunting for them only ever seems to lead to: 'held in a private collection'. If I ever was to have one single painting, it would be one by him - anyone. I happily take one of his tiny compositions, or the footballers, or a nude but really, really, really: I'd love one of the Agrigente paintings. That heat, that tension, that drama in a minimal composition.

The exhibition catalogue I have is in French, so it's a bit tedious but it's nonetheless delicious. It talks about the drama and danger of how de Stael constructs space across the canvas. They have - albeit from a different angle (or plane?) a similar impact on me as Joan Eardley's seascapes. I wholeheartedly and passionately submit to them, let them take over and be all there is. A canvas to loose yourself in. How delicious.

How did I not know before that art can do something so powerful? But now I do and it will remain. How wonderful.

The thing is - de Stael's landscapes are full of ghosts too. I haven't figured them out, maybe I won't try much further. But I suspect that such impact carries so much 'other' with it that there have to be ghosts. Hm, well, I of course know of his depression and anguish. But that is far too simple for ghosts, I've decided.

Nicolas de Stael, Landscape, 1953
Oil on canvas, 80x65.1cm, private collection

Did I intend to be practical today... I actually did. But not much chance of that. So: more posts on de Stael. And some sketching on my part of Chilean fields as mediation between myself and de Stael. How presumptious and how delicious at the same time.

Oh... and my best chance for seeing one of his paintings seems to be this one at the Tate Modern. So: London, very soon.

And I'm also curious: have you seen one of his paintings? Which one and where?

Now: please, please, please - can I have a de Stael retrospective somewhere nearby and very soon...

1 comment:

Jala Pfaff said...

Wow, thanks for posting about de Stael. I LOVE his work too. I'll be in London next month--good to know what to look for in the Tate!
If I could own one famous painting, I'd take either a Rothko or a Diebenkorn Ocean Park.