Thursday, August 15, 2013

Signac, Paul

Les Andelys, Cote d'Aval
oil on canvas
60 x 92 cm
Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA
This view of the harbor of Les Andelys, a village on the Seine River near Giverny, is part of a series of 10 works that Signac made in the summer and early fall of 1886. It was the first series he painted using the all-over dots and dashes of strong colour that were the hallmark of the Neo-Impressionist group centered around his friend Georges Seurat.

Paul Signac (1863 - 1935) was a French neo-impressionist painter.He is one of the principal neoimpressionist painters worked with Georges Seurat in creating pointillism (or divisionism). He followed a course of training in architecture before deciding at the age of 18 to pursue a career as a painter after attending an exhibit of Monet's work.

Unlike Seurat, he had virtually no formal training; he taught himself to paint by studying the works of Claude Monet and others. After he and Seurat met, they developed their technique of painting with dots (points) of colour, which led to the name pointillism. As Signac explained, they used the pure impressionist palette but applied it in dots that were to be blended by the viewer's eye. What Signac called "muddy mixtures" were to be banished from painting and replaced by luminous, intense colours. Many of Signac's paintings are of the French coast. He loved to paint the water. He left the capital each summer, to stay in the south of France in the village of Collioure or at St. Tropez.

As president of the annual Salon des Independants (1908-34), Signac encouraged younger artists by exhibiting the controversial works of the Fauves and the Cubists. At the age of seventy-two, he died on 15 August 1935 in Paris from septicemia. His body was cremated and buried three days later, on August 18, at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.