Paul Signac - The Quay at Clichy - Spring 1887 - Asnieres Sur Seine
Painting Date30th of November -0001
Painting TypeFriends and Influencers
Paul Signac was born in Paris on 11 November 1863. He trained in architecture before deciding as a young man to pursue a career as a painter after he attended an exhibit of Claude Monet’s impressionist canvases.
In 1884 he met Claude Monet and Georges Seurat. He was impressed by the precise and scientific working methods of Seurat and by his theory of colors. Under his influence and a close friend over the years, Signac abandoned the short brushstrokes of Impressionism to experiment with meticulously placed small dots of pure color, with the belief that the eye would mix the colors if the observer stood at a proper distance from the canvas. This effect is debatable but the pursuit and canvases Seurat and Signac created drove many artists to experiment with complimentary and contrasting colors.
Paul Signac, Albert Dubois-Pillet, Odilon Redon and Georges Seurat were among the founders of the Société des Artistes Indépendants. The association began in Paris 29 July 1884 with the organization of massive exhibitions, with the device “No jury nor awards” (Sans jury ni récompense). “The purpose of Société des Artistes Indépendants—based on the principle of abolishing admission jury—is to allow the artists to present their works to public judgement with complete freedom”. In 1908 Signac was elected president of the 24th Salon des Indépendants.
In 1886 Signac met Vincent in Paris. In the Spring of 1887 the two artists regularly went to Asnières-sur-Seine together, where they painted such subjects as river landscapes and cafés. Some of Vincent’s most pointillist canvases are created during Spring and Summer of 1887 in Paris. In March 1889, Signac visited Vincent at Arles and spent an afternoon with him viewing his recent canvases.
Signac loved sailing and began to travel in 1892, sailing a small boat to almost all the ports of France, to the Netherlands, and around the Mediterranean as far as Constantinople, basing his boat at St. Tropez, which he “discovered”. From his various ports of call, Signac brought back vibrant, colorful watercolors, sketched rapidly from nature. From these sketches, he painted large studio canvases that are carefully worked out in small, mosaic-like squares of color, quite different from the tiny, variegated dots previously used by Seurat.
Signac himself experimented with various media. As well as oil paintings and watercolors he made etchings, lithographs, and many pen-and-ink sketches composed of small, laborious dots. The Neo-Impressionists influenced the next generation: Signac inspired Henri Matisse and André Derain in particular, thus playing a decisive role in the evolution of Fauvism.
Paul Signac died from septicemia in Paris on 15 August 1935 at the age of 71. His body was cremated and buried three days later, on 18 August, at the Père Lachaise Cemetery. Some of his well known paintings are: In the Time of Harmony, Femmes au puits, Port St. Tropez, The Papal Palace, and The Demolisher. Politically he was an anarchist, as were many of his friends, including Félix Fénéon and Camille Pissarro.