Art: A Lyrical Colorist Rediscovered

De Stael painted by "the rule that corrects the emotion"

Some artists have all the luck; others, in the long run, have very little, and Nicolas de Stael was one of these. Born in 1914, a suicide at 41 in 1955, De Stael was practically the last painter of the School of Paris whose work had much impact on American taste, before the doctrine of U.S. national supremacy in painting took hold.

He was hailed by critics like the formidable Douglas Cooper -- whose vociferous dislike of De Stael's later work contributed to the depression that caused the painter to jump from his own balcony in Antibes -- as "the most...