Nicolas de Stael was born in St Petersburg in 1914. The Russian Revolution meant the family were forced to move to Poland in 1919 and it was here that both de Stael's parents died.

De Stael moved to Nice in 1941, where he met Jean Arp and Sonia and Robert Delaunay, who would inspire his first abstract paintings.

While de Stael enjoyed great success during his lifetime he also suffered from depression and in 1955 he committed suicide at the age of 41.

Despite dying young de Stael was a prolific artist and had painted over a thousand paintings by the time he was 41.