About us
Artists Paul Signac
Paul Signac Photo

Paul Signac

French Painter

Movements and Styles: Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism

Born: November 11, 1863 - Paris, France

Died: August 15, 1935 - Paris, France

Paul Signac Timeline

Quotes

"The anarchist painter is not the one who will create anarchist pictures, but the one who will fight with all his individuality against official conventions."
Paul Signac
"The Golden age has not passed; it lies in the future."
Paul Signac
"Art is a creation of a higher order than a copy of nature which is governed by chance.... By the elimination of all muddy colors, by the exclusive use of optical mixture of pure colors, by a methodical divisionism and a strict observation of the scientific theory of colors, the neo-impressionists insures a maximum of luminosity, of color intensity, and of harmony- a result that has never yet been obtained."
Paul Signac

"The art of the colorist has in some ways elements of mathematics and music."

Paul Signac Signature

Synopsis

Signac, who was both intelligent and well-read, was influenced heavily by modern theories on optics and color as well as by the work of the Impressionists, who were on the cutting edge of artistic innovation when he was a teenager and young man in the Parisian bohemian neighborhood of Montmartre. Signac's style changed substantially as he incorporated the techniques and theories of Neo-Impressionism (also known as "Divisionism" and "Pointillism") that he developed in collaboration with Georges Seurat. The rapid, varied brushstrokes of his Impressionist style, intended to convey the effects of light on objects, were transformed into the small, roughly square points of Neo-Impressionism. Signac, Seurat, and their fellow Neo-Impressionists began a process in Modernism of breaking down the basic components of a painting, in a way, separating color from the objects it described - an important step toward the further abstraction by later artists.

Key Ideas

While he is best known for his paintings and well-developed preparatory sketches, Signac was also an innovator in his extensive experimentation with a variety of media, from printmaking techniques like lithography and etching to watercolor and pen-and-ink, including painstaking sketches for paintings produced in tiny dots. Regardless of the medium, he persistently created forms without relying on line, which imposed a consistent level of abstraction on all of his work.
Signac's professed admiration for Naturalism, particularly in literature as evidenced by his virtual idolizing of Émile Zola, is in some ways reflected in his art. In particular, his emphasis on the mechanics of optics and the study of color theory situates him in a generation of artists who found paths for innovation by creating a kind of scientific approach to aesthetics.
Known as "melange optique" ("optical mixture"), the method used by Signac, Seurat, and other Neo-Impressionists involved placing dots of pure color separately on the canvas and allowing the eye to mix the paint, which happened when the viewer stepped back at least a couple of feet from the painting. As the white or off-white of the canvas was not typically concealed, it was usually an integral part of the process, creating a kind of shimmering effect. With Neo-Impressionism, wrote Signac, "...the separated elements will be reconstituted into brilliantly colored lights."

Biography

Paul Signac Photo

Childhood and Education

Paul Signac was born into a comfortably middle-class family in Paris in the late-19th century during the critical last few decades when Modernism was developing. Significantly, the family relocated early in his life to the Montmartre area of the city, which was then a thriving artistic environment. The move had a tremendous impact on the young Signac's engagement with the visual arts and, more generally, with avant-garde culture at the time.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Paul Signac Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Paul Signac
Interactive chart with Paul Signac's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Claude MonetClaude Monet
Gustave CaillebotteGustave Caillebotte
Vincent van GoghVincent van Gogh
Armand Guillaumin

Personal Contacts

Georges SeuratGeorges Seurat
Felix FeneonFelix Feneon
Camille PissarroCamille Pissarro
Maximilien Luce
Angrand Cross

Movements

ImpressionismImpressionism
Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism

Influences on Artist
Paul Signac
Paul Signac
Years Worked: 1885 - 1935
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Vincent van GoghVincent van Gogh
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
André DerainAndré Derain
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
Paul CézannePaul Cézanne

Personal Contacts

Georges SeuratGeorges Seurat
Felix FeneonFelix Feneon
Camille PissarroCamille Pissarro
Maximilien Luce
Angrand Cross

Movements

FauvismFauvism
CubismCubism
Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism
Neo-ImpressionismNeo-Impressionism

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
[Accessed ]