Staël, Nicholas de (nēkôläˈ də stäl) [key], 1914–55, French painter, b. St. Petersburg, Russia. Reared in Brussels, he traveled extensively before settling in France in 1940. De Staël evolved c.1942 a highly abstract style, developing a rich color fabric combined with strong elements of tension. His later works became gradually more representational. His artistic reputation was firmly established by the time of his suicide.