Paul Signac

Art on This Day
French Neo-Impressionist painter Paul Signac (Paul Victor Jules Signac) was born on this day in 1863, in Paris. Working with Georges Seurat, Signac developed the Pointillist style in 1886 branching from Impressionism. He experimented with various media. As well as oil paintings and watercolors he made etchings, lithographs, and many pen-and-ink sketches composed of small, laborious dots.
 
Signac followed a course of training in architecture before deciding at the aged of 19 to pursue a career as a painter after attending an exhibit of Monet’s work. In 1884 he met Claude Monet and Georges Seurat. He was struck by the systematic working methods of Seurat and by his theory of colors and became Seurat's faithful supporter, friend and heir with his description of Neo-Impressionism and Divisionism method. Under his influence he abandoned the short brushstrokes of Impressionism to experiment with scientifically juxtaposed small dots of pure color, intended to combine and blend not on the canvas but in the viewer's eye, the defining feature of Pointillism.
 
As president of the Société des Artistes Indépendants from 1908 until his death, Signac was an influencer to the next generation. He inspired Henri Matisse and André Derain in particular, thus playing a decisive role in the evolution of Fauvism. His essay, “d'Eugène Delacroix au Néo-Impressionnisme” in 1898, influenced Matisse to adopted the Divisionist technique after reading it. Also, Signac encouraged younger artists (he was the first to buy a painting by Matisse) by exhibiting the controversial works of the Fauves and the Cubists