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Paul Signac


Together with Georges Seurat, Paul Signac (1863–1935) was one of France’s leading Neo-Impressionist artists and theorists. Their aim was to further develop the techniques used by the Impressionists and create carefully organized colour harmonies. Signac often depicted views of harbour towns on his beloved Mediterranean.

Signac’s family were well-to-do Paris shopkeepers and from the outset he was able to support himself financially. He abandoned his study of architecture and was inspired to embark on an artistic career after visiting the exhibition of Claude Monet’s works in Paris in 1880. The most important influence on his style was Georges Seurat, whom he met in 1884 when the Salon des Indépendants started up, with Seurat and Signac among its founder members.

Working with Seurat, he adopted the principles of Divisionism as developed by Seurat, applying pure, unmixed colours to the canvas and further developing the pointillist technique, specifically as a disciplined composition of groups of dots in primary colours. When Signad died in 1891 Signac became the most important representative of the Neo-Impressionist movement. His treatise D’Eugène Delacroix au néoimpressionisme (From Eugène Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism) had a seminal impact on the new interest in the trend that developed in the early 1900s. Signac was also associated with anarchist circles and was for instance a close friend of the critic Félix Fénéon.