Signac and colour harmonies
In 2021, the Musée Jacquemart-André will focus on the oeuvre of Paul Signac (1863- 1935), a master of landscape painting and the principal theorist of divisionism, through around seventy works from a major private collection.
In addition to 25 canvases by Signac, such as Avant du Tub (1888), The Beacons at Saint-Briac (1890), Saint-Tropez. After the Storm (1895), Avignon, Morning (1909), and Juan-les-Pins, Evening (1914), and about twenty watercolours, the exhibition will present more than twenty works by the artists Camille Pissarro, Maximilen Luce, Théo Van Rysselberghe, Henri-Edmond Cross, Georges Seurat, Louis Hayet, Achille Laugé, Georges Lacombe, and Georges Lemmen.
The exhibition’s itinerary will be chronological, from the first Impressionist paintings executed by Signac under the influence of Claude Monet to the brightly coloured works produced by the artist in the twentieth century, and his encounter with Georges Seurat in 1884.
The exhibition, which will retrace Signac’s life and his use of the decomposition of colour, will also explore the history of neo-Impressionism. At the beginning of the itinerary, the various members of the neo-Impressionist movement will initially be evoked through portraits (portraits of Georges Seurat (1890), Camille Pissarro (1895), and Henri-Edmond Cross (1898) by Maximilien Luce; Portrait of Maximilien Luce (1890) by Signac; and Self-Portrait (1916) by Théo Van Rysselberghe).
Further on in the exhibition, canvases by neo-Impressionist painters will be brought together: Camille Pissarro, Louis Hayet, Achille Laugé, and so on, and, in particular, canvases by the most famous neo-Impressionists: Van Rysselbeghe, Cross, and Luce.
Visitors will thus be able to appreciate the various aspects of neo-Impressionism, as interpreted by diverse artistic figures through works such as Au Café (1887-1888) by Louis Hayet, Brickyard at Eragny (1888) by Camille Pissarro, Kalf’s Mill in Knokke (1894) by Théo Van Rysselberghe, and The Choppy Sea (circa 1902- 1905) by Henri-Edmond Cross.
A large exhibition space will be devoted to Signac’s first neo-Impressionist works, and then his Saint- Tropez period, where he chose to spend the summer months from 1892 to 1913.
The works painted in Paris and Brittany contrast with the paintings in bold colours inspired by the Midi. The exhibition will show the development of the painter’s technique, which gradually shifted away from Seurat’s theories towards a neo-Impressionist approach, and towards ever more colourful pictorial expression.
The museum will also present works produced by Signac in the twentieth century, when the artist produced many watercolours. An entire picture rail will be devoted to them with around a dozen watercolours. A fine ensemble of paintings executed in the twentieth century will highlight the importance of the pictorial style of Signac, who played on the contrasts between colours, which he juxtaposed in the form of small dabs or dots of pure colour.
An innovative artist, Signac opened the way for his contemporaries and a new generation of artists such as the Fauves, the Futurists, and the abstract painters.