Paul Signac

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Paul Signac was a renowned and famous French artist, who was best known for his Pointillist style of painting. With remarkable works like ‘The Dining Room’ and ‘Women at the Well’, Signac has influenced countless of avant-garde artists with his new Divisionist approach.

Paul Signac was born on November 11, 1863, in Paris, France. He hailed from a family of affluent and wealthy shopkeepers, and even though his great artistic talent was detected at a very age, his parents wanted him to pursue a career in architecture. He began studying architecture, however, he did not lose sight of his passion for art, and upon encountering the works of great artist, Claude Monet, Paul left school in 1880, to build a career in art.

Paul began his artistic education with notable artist, Emile Bin, who lived in Montmartre, Paris. He produced his first painting in 1881, and his earliest works, which mainly featured exuberant landscapes of Parisian suburbs, exhibited the influence of the Impressionist style of art. In 1884, Paul encountered Georges Seurat, and his works, especially ‘Bathers at Asnieres’ had a profound influence on him, and he adopted Seurat’s innovations and advancements to the Impressionist approach, and this marked Paul’s drift towards Neo-Impressionism.

Paul collaborated with Seurat in developing color schemes and ideas to develop optical effects on the canvas, this method became famous as Pointillism or Divisionism. Pauls’ best known and most influential Divisionist paintings include, ‘The Dining Room’ and the famous portrait, ‘Felix Feneon’. In 1884 and 1885, Paul contributed his work at the annual exhibition of the Salon des Artistes Independants, and a year later, his work was showcased at the last Impressionist exhibition.

In the 1890s, Paul began writing articles and studies based on art, and in 1899, he published his influential dissertation on Neo-Impressionism, ‘From Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism’. In 1891, his close and cherished friend, Georges Seurat passed away, and dejected and depressed with Parisian life, Paul chose the comfort and tranquility of Saint Tropez, French Riviera. His works from this period feature seascapes and routine scenes from the rural life, for instance, ‘Women at the Well’, and ‘Evening Calm, Concarneau, Opus 220 (Allegro Maestoso)’.

Towards his last years, Paul emerged as a radical activist who looked forward to a democratic arrangement, and became a devout follower of the anarchist movement which was burgeoning during his time. With works like ‘The Wreckers’, he wanted to create awareness for the need of change and improve of social standards of living for all alike. Paul developed a fondness of painting from his imagination rather using direct and material subjects, and his colors became brighter and bolder while his brushstrokes seemed to have developed a free and strong will of their own, and Paul began experimenting with sketching and watercolors.

Although Paul Signac had been a greatly influential artist from the very beginning of his career, and without doubt, one of the founders of Neo-Impressionism, it is shocking how his first solo exhibition came so late in his career, in 1901, in an art gallery in Paris.

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