Art is divine

A heart in color

By Micha Christos

MUSEE D’ORSAY

October 12, 2021 - February 13, 2022

 

 

SIGNAC

Collector

Van Gogh (1853-1890)

Two herrings 1889

Oil on canvas 32 x 40 cm

Private collection

Photo © musée d’Orsay / Patrice Schmidt

Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

The Arched Centaur (Undated) Charcoal and pastel on paper 55 x 46.5 cm

Private collection

Photo © musée d’Orsay / Patrice Schmidt

Louis Valtat (1869-1952)

Nocturne (Moon Effect)

Circa 1900-1901 Oil on canvas 65.5 x 81 cm

Private collection Photo © musée d’Orsay /Patrice Schmidt

Claude Monet (1840-1926)

Apple trees in bloom by the water

1880, oil on canvas 73 x 60 cm

Private collection

 

 

 

Paul Signac mainly collects the works of his contemporaries. A leading figure in neo-impressionism, a founding member of the Salon des Artistes Indépendants (1884), a major exhibition organizer, he is indeed at the heart of current art. He learned his trade by looking at the works of the Impressionists who had a real admiration for Claude Monet, of whom he would be a friend until his death, as well as to Edgar Degas, Gustave Caillebotte, Armand Guillaumin.

Signac, from a wealthy merchant family, brings together important works, his first acquisition being a landscape by Paul Cézanne.

This autodidact has a predilection for pure color, Pissarro will be a benevolent teacher for him and he will find a friend in the person of Seurat.

 

Signac collects from Impressionism to Fauvism via Neo-Impressionism. On the death of his friend Seurat, who left suddenly at the age of thirty-one, Signac became the leader of the movement.


Georges Seurat (1859-1891)

Gravelines: One Evening, Study 1890

Oil on canvas 15.6 x 25.6 cm Paris, Center Pompidou, National Museum of Modern Art /

Industrial creation center, bequest of Mr. Georges Grammont to the French State,

on deposit at the Annonciade Museum, Saint-Tropez © all rights reserved

Georges Seurat (1859-1891)

Torso of a naked man near an easel (study for Bathing in Asnières?) 1883-84

Conté pencil on paper 32 x 24.5 cm

Private collection Photo © Musée d´Orsay / Patrice Schmidt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Henri Edmond Cross entered the neo-impressionist circle relatively late, in 1891, and also formed a close friendship with Signac. The two painters exchange pictures and see each other regularly in the South where Cross accompanies Signac's theoretical reflection on color. From 1895, their keys widened and they both used free and daring polychromy. After Cross's death in 1910, Signac continued to acquire his paintings.

Among the painters of the neo-impressionist second generation, Signac particularly appreciates the art of his friend and pupil Lucie Cousturier.


Lucie Cousturier (1876-1925)

Still life fruit

Circa 1903 Oil on canvas 50.5 x 61 cm

Private collection

© rights reserved

Signac has long stood at the crossroads of the avant-garde. In 1887, he visited Vincent Van Gogh, who presented him with his painting "Deux Herrings", in memory of a visit during his internment in Arles.

 

In his collection, Signac favors Fauves like Matisse, De Van Dongen, Camoin, Marquet, Puy, d'Espagnat and especially Valtat. He is also very interested in nudes, although he rarely broaches the subject himself. He buys prints by Valloton, a Vuillard and greatly admires Bonnard, but if, curiously, he prefers his half-tone canvases.

 

Signac mocked the Symbolists and yet could not resist Odilon Redon’s superb “Centaur”, a charcoal masterpiece.

 

Self-taught painter, staunch anarchist, always linking art and friendship, Signac is attached to works as well as to their creators.

 

A collector with a keen eye, it is his heart that guides him to each of the paintings that mark out his atypical journey through the twists and turns of art and color.

 

Georges Seurat (1859-1891)

Le Cirque 1891 Oil on canvas 186.2 x 152 cm

Paris, Orsay Museum

Photo © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais /Patrice Schmidt


Henri-Edmond Cross (1856-1910)

Toulon, winter morning 1906-1907

Oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm

Private collectionPhoto © musée d’Orsay  / Patrice Schmidt