Biography

Watercolors form an important part of Signac's oeuvre and he produced a large quantity during his numerous visits to Collioure, Port-en-Bressin, La Rochelle, Marseille, Venice and Istanbul. The fluid medium allowed for more freedom than is found in his rather rigid oil paintings which are sometimes encumbered by the demands of theory.

 

Signac was an avid yachtsman and began traveling extensively in 1892, the same year in which he focused his efforts on watercolor painting (which became a very important part of his oeuvre).  In the 1890s, he sailed a small boat to almost all the ports of France, to Holland, and around the Mediterranean as far as Constantinople from his base at St. Tropez.  From his various ports of call, Signac brought back vibrant, colorful watercolors, sketched rapidly “plein aire.”  Signac also worked closer to home, painting various scenes of the Seine and other famous French rivers.

 

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 had intended to study architecture until a visit to a Claude

 

A Monet exhibition inspired him to pursue an artistic career.  His early works reflect 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.  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 very important art critic and historian.  His essays, books, and articles in addition to his revolutionary art inspired contemporaries such as Camille Pissarro and Vincent Van Gogh.  Signac also strongly influenced later artists Henri Matisse and André Derian, thus playing a decisive role in the evolution of Fauvism. 

 

Museum Collections Include:

Musee d’Orsay, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Smithsonian Museum of Art, Washington, D.C.; Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam; Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Chicago Art Institute, IL; Musee du Louvre, Paris