Nicolas de Staël, Parc des Princes, 200 x 350 cm, Private Collection

Until 21 November 2010 – Fondation Pierre Gianadda

We are all certainly suffering from an overdose. The World Cup has exhausted the most resistant and probably some amateurs as well. It would therefore be quite audacious to offer them a third half… Yet, in the media storm that overwhelmed us, we had few opportunities to be objective. Aside from the French vaudeville, the Italian fiasco and the German power, what other keys do we have to appreciate this ballet of modern times? We say “ballet” because football, after rowing and horseback riding, has been the favourite sport of avant-garde painters for the past century. Douanier Rousseau started as of 1908 with his Footballeurs in stripped pyjamas (at the Guggenheim de New York), who seem to play royal tennis. Then there were the Cubists, in particular Albert Gleizes in 1912 (his Footballeurs at the National Gallery in Washington) and André Lhote in 1918 (painting with the s ame title sold in May 1999 at Sotheby’s), who put the athletes through the colander of Abstraction. But the champion in all styles is undoubtedly Nicolas de Staël. He was bewitched by the France-Sweden game on 26 March 1952 and painted in one swoop a series of 25 paintings. Many of them are exhibited at the retrospective currently dedicated to him at the Gianadda foundation. To be savoured during break time …    Map

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