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Paul Signac: one of the founders of Pointillism and Divisionism

Paul Signac: one of the founders of Pointillism and Divisionism


Born in Paris on 11 November 1863, Paul Signac was a French painter who discovered his vocation for painting while he was attending an exhibition by Claude Monet.

Despite studying architecture, he decides to leave this discipline and he gets closer and closer to the art world, starting to attend an atelier located in Montmartre. He attends exhibitions, studies the numerous works of the Impressionists and in the meantime begins to paint the views of Asnières-sur-Seine, a place where he has a boat in storage and where his family also resides.

Afterwards, he begins to paint the views of Montmartre and devotes himself to the study of nudes, while his painting is influenced by the style of Monet; in fact, he paints with the typical style of separate and particularly colourful touches.

Paul Signac's first exhibition takes place in 1884 at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants, a place where many works by more than 400 artists who has been refused by the Salon Officiel are exhibited; at the Salon Officiel works considered innovative are not accepted. It was here that Signac meets Georges Seurat, another artist who, together with Paul, will start a new movement: Pointillism and Divisionism.

Belonging to the current called Neo-Impressionism, Pointillism and Divisionism are pictorial techniques that consist in placing on the canvas very small touches of pure colour and the various colours are not mixed on the palette, but it is precisely the eye of the observer that creates the mixture of colours. To obtain the desired effects, the exponents of this technique study in depth the Chromatic Circle of Chevreul, which allows the artists to choose and match the colours in the most suitable way and then to offer the spectator, positioned at a certain distance, the opportunity to capture every nuance and detail in the work.

Passionate about boats, after being elected President of the Salon des Artistes Indépendants he also becomes the official painter of the French Navy; among his most important enterprises there is his desire to paint all the ports of France, in fact between 1929 and 1931 Paul Signac will travel a lot, until he manages to complete his beloved project.

After exhibiting in numerous places all around the world, including New York, and after completing many projects, on August 15, 1935, Paul Signac dies in Paris, at the age of 72.

Thanks to his constant commitment and his totally innovative vision for that time, today we can admire many of his colourful works, which are unique, and which have inspired many artists, including some very famous, such as Matisse, who even went to visit him in 1904, in Saint Tropez.

Finally, a curiosity about Paul Signac is represented by the fact that, while travelling, to be able to finish his works in a shorter time, the artist often replaced oil painting with watercolour, a technique that allowed him to capture every nuance of the landscape to be painted and to finish each work soon.

Article by: Aurora Caraman

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