Paul Victor Jules Signac
(1863 - 1935)
Paul Victor Jules Signac was active/lived in France. Paul Signac is known for neo-Impressionist painting-pointillism, etching, ink sketches.
Paul Signac (Paul Victor Jules Signac) was one of the principal French
neo-impressionist painters of his time. He was initially
influenced by Monet and later he closely associated himself with
Georges Seurat in experimenting with the application of dots of color
known as Pointillisim, which became the basis of Neo-Impressionism.
Signac was born in Paris on November 11, 1863. At 18 years old he
left the field of architecture to pursue a career of painting. He
loved the subject matter of the outdoors and French Coast, and each
summer left Paris to reside in the South of France in the village of
Colliour or at St. Tropez, where he eventually bought a home and
entertained his friends. Signac traveled throughout Genoa,
Florence and Naples. He developed a love for sailing, which would
lead him to ports throughout France to Holland and the Mediterranean,
basing his boat in St Tropez. While traveling he would sketch
watercolors from various sites and return home to paint large canvases
that carefully displayed small mosaic-like squares of color. He
worked in various media such as oil paintings, watercolors, etchings,
lithographs and many pen-and-ink sketches composed of small dots.
the second half of the 1880's, he befriended Vincent Van Gogh, and
through that union Van Gogh came in contact with
Neo-Impressionisim. The influence of this style can be seen in
such Van Gogh's painting as Courting couples in the Voyer d'Argenson Park in Asnieries
In 1884 Signac met Claude Monet and George Seurat, and became one of
the founders of the Salon des Independents. While he was
President of the Society from 1908 until his death in 1935, Signac
encouraged younger artists (he was the first to buy a Matisse painting)
by exhibiting the then controversial works of the Fauves and
Cubists. He and the neo-impressionists are credited with
influencing the next generation of painters including Henri Matisse and
Andre Derain, therefore contributing to the creation of Fauvism.
Some of his well known paintings include The Pine, Saint Tropez and
Port St Tropez, The Jew and Saint Hitler.
Signac wrote several important works on the theory of art, among them From Eugene Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism
, an exposition on pointillisim, published in 1899, Jongkind
(1819-1891) published in 1927 and several introductions to art exhibition catalogues.
Signac was 72 year old when he died in Paris.
Sources include:Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
The Grove Dictionary of Art
Paul Signac was a French neo-Impressionist painter, one of the
originators of the technique known as Pointillism or Divisionism.
He came from an affluent family of shopkeepers and intended to study
architecture but a visit to a Claude Monet exhibition inspired him to
pursue an artistic career.
His early works show the influence of Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and
Armand Guillaumin, a close friend who also provided important
encouragement to the artist. In 1884, Signac was a founder-member
of the Salon des Independants, where he met Georges Seurat who
exhibited Bathers at Asnieres. At the time of their meeting,
Signac was practicing an orthodox form of Impressionism whereas Seurat
was already a devotee of Divisionism. Seurat's color theory
seduced Signac by its rigour, which was in direct opposition to the
instinctive approach of the Impressionists. The two men pooled
their research and greatly influenced each other's oeuvres and the
evolution of pointillism.
Signac was also a talented draftsman,
lithographer, and watercolorist. Many of his exhibitions featured
Pointilist oil paintings alongside looser, less methodical
watercolors. All of these works are unified in their quest to
glorify the beauty of color. To Signac, color theory was of optimum
importance and he promoted an aesthetic wherein the beauty of color was
an end in itself.
Signac was also a very important art critic and historian. His book, From Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism
(1899), a summary of the ideas and theories of the movement, is a
standard text on the subject. He wrote an excellent study of
Jongkind, a fine article on "The Subject in Painting" for a French
encyclopedia, and other important articles and catalogue
introductions. His essays, books, and articles, in addition to
his revolutionary art, inspired his contemporaries (i.e. Camille
Pissarro, Vincent Van Gogh).
Signac also strongly influenced
future artists Henri Matisse and Andre Derian, thus playing a decisive
role in the evolution of Fauvism. As president of the annual
Salon des Independants from 1908 until his death, Signac encouraged
younger artists (he was the first to buy a painting by Matisse) by
exhibiting the controversial works of the Fauves and the Cubists.