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Artists Biography

Paul Signac

French 1863 – 1935
Signac14300(2)
Paul Signac was born in Paris on 11 November 1863. He followed a course of training in architecture before deciding at the age of eighteen to pursue a career as a painter.

In 1884 he met Claude Monet and Georges Seurat. He was struck by the systematic working methods of Seurat and by his theory of colours and became Seurat's faithful supporter. Under his influence he abandoned the short brushstrokes of impressionism to experiment with scientifically juxtaposed small dots of pure colour, intended to combine and blend not on the canvas but in the viewer's eye, the defining feature of pointillism.

Many of Signac's paintings are of the French coast. He left the Capital each summer, to stay in the south of France in the village of Collioure or at St. Tropez, where he bought a house and invited his friends. In March 1889, he visited Vincent van Gogh at Arles. The next year he made a short trip to Italy, seeing Genoa, Florence, and Naples.

Signac loved sailing and began to travel in 1892, sailing a small boat to almost all the ports of France, to Holland, 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, colourful watercolours, sketched rapidly from nature. From these sketches, he painted large studio canvases that are carefully worked out in small, mosaic-like squares of colour, quite different from the tiny, variegated dots previously used by Seurat.

As president of the Société des Artistes Indépendants 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.

Works by this artist…

  • Gulet in Saint-Tropez
    Gulet in Saint-Tropez
    ( ref : 14300 )
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