was a painter known for his use of a thick impasto and his highly abstract landscape painting. He also worked with collage, illustration and textiles Nocolas de Stael was born in the family of a Russian Lieutenant General, Baron Vladimir Stael von Holstein, (a member of the Stael von Holstein family, and the last Commandant of the Peter and Paul Fortress) and his wife, Olga Sakhanskaya. De Stael's family was forced to emigrate to Poland in 1919 because of the Russian Revolution; Both, his father and stepmother, would die in Poland and the orphaned Nicolas de Stael would be sent with his older sister Marina to Brussels to live with a Russian family (1922). He eventually studied art at the Brussels Acad??mie royale des beaux-arts (1932). In the 1930s, he travelled throughout Europe, lived in Paris (1934) and in Morocco (1936) (where he first met his companion Jeannine Guillou, also a painter and who would appear in some of his paintings from 1941-1942) and Algeria. In 1936 he had his first exhibition of Byzantine style icons and watercolors at the Galerie Dietrich et Cie, Brussels. He joined the French Foreign Legion in 1939 and was demobilized in 1941.