Paul Signac

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Paul Signac


Paul Signac was born in the late-19th century to a middle-class family in Paris. At that time, modernism was slowly developing, and his family shifted to the Montmartre area of the city, which was a great environment for the artists. The move-in at his early age had a huge influence on Signac's involvement with the arts and Avant-garde culture of that time. In his teenage Signac was inspired by the work of impressionists. His parents were very supportive, and they encouraged Signac to attend exhibitions and learn about aesthetic impressionism. When Signac was 16, he attended the 5th impressionist exhibition, where he was deeply motivated by the work of Claude Monet. 

In 1880 Signac's father died, and due to that, Signac's mother had to sell the family business. After that, they moved to the new Parisian suburb of Asnieres. Signac was not happy in the new location; despite being a good student, he left school and returned to Montmartre. The family's new home wasn't ideal for the young Avant-garde artist; still, it gave him the subject for his work. There are so many paintings and drawings made by Signac in Asnieres, from the garden outside of his house to the bridges of the new Parisian to the banks of a river. Many of the works of Signac featured boats.

Early career

Signac received training in the studio of portraitist and Emile Bin. Those lessons were free of charge, and Signac was mostly self-taught. He improved himself by studying the artworks of the great impressionists at that time. One of his favourite paintings was a coastal town, and it reflected the influence of Monet's exhibition in Boulevard da la Madeleine that march. In 1884 Signac was advanced enough to enter some of his works into the first salon by the newly formed Avant-garde artists. Later Signac became a major part of the avant-garde art trends. By 1885 Signac had solidified his unique neo-impressionism style, and he was invited to display his artwork in the eighth final impressionist exhibition. 

Mature period

Signac started creating interior scenes, and The Milliners was his first major one. Signac also preferred cityscapes, landscapes, outdoor scenes, and exterior scenes. In 1886 Signac met Vincent Van Gogh, and both developed a friendly relationship. They frequently visited sites together as Asnieres to paint outdoor and interior scenes. Van was very impressed by the loose brush artwork of Signac. In 1889 Signac visited Van and taught him to paint Neo-impressionist style.

Signac was also politically active, and his political beliefs can be seen in some of his artwork. He produced one of his works with the title "At the time of Harmony" in 1893. Initially, it was titled "In the times of Anarchy," but the authorities targeted it, so Signac was forced to change the title. 

In 1892, Signac got married to Berthe Robles, his long-time companions. They got married in Montmartre. In 1897 they both moved to an apartment in the Castel Beranger, and in that same year, they bought a house in the south of France. There Signac built a large studio, and it was completed in late 1898. In that studio, Signac worked on some of his most colourful works in the neo-impressionist style featuring beaches, boats, and seascapes.


Final period and death

By the year 1905, the neo-impressionist style had a big influence in the world of avant-garde art. Signac's production didn't reduce as he grew older. Even in the 20th century, he was production artworks, whether drawings, oil paintings, or watercolours. By 1911 he mostly used watercolour, and in 1915, he was appointed as the official naval painter of Antibes. He never stopped producing as for him living meant producing arts. Signac died on august 15, 1935, at the age of 71, due to Septicemia. Signac's grave was in the infamous Paris cemetery. Signac was also credited for penning down some seminar work on art theory and essays for exhibition catalogues. Signac played a huge role in the establishment of an alternative exhibition structure. His artwork was highly influenced by great artists like Andre Derain and Henri Matisse, who used his technique to produce bright and very expressive colours.