Paul Signac (Nov. 11, 1863 to Aug. 15, 1935) is a neoimpressionist painter who is also known for working with Georges Seurat to create pointillism. Signac was born and raised comfortably in Paris, France where his penchant for art became evident in his. He began to attend exhibitions showcasing Impressionist artwork, which was cutting-edge at the time. Impressionism itself originated in Paris, and was only just becoming an established artistic tendency during Signac’s youth. When young Signac visited the galleries, he was inspired by works from artists such as Monet.
Although originally drawn toward architecture, Signac abandoned this idea in favor of painting. It should be noted that the artist had no formal training. Luckily, his comfortable background allowed him to paint at his leisure. He experimented with different subject matter but often returned to paintings of familiar surroundings that include the Seine, Montmarte, and various other French cities. Signac also enjoyed sailing, so many of his works were done on his travels along the Mediterranean Coast (specifically St. Tropez).
He met Georges Seurat, a fellow French artist, in 1884. The two began to work together, and by the end of the next year Signac’s style was taking on characteristics similar to those of Seurat. The two worked in conjunction to produce a new tendency known as pointillism. In part because of the pointillism movement, Signac is credited with paving the way for new trends such as Cubism and therefore influencing a new generation of artists.
Although he did several pointillist pieces, many landscape paintings from Signac’s earlier works can be found in the Arkansas Arts Center’s James T. Dyke Collection. The collection was made available through a generous donation that left 133 Signac pieces to the museum in 1999. Although several of the works are often on loan at other art venues, Little Rock visitors can still view pieces that span the artist’s 50+ year career. According to the Art Center’s website, “The works debuted in the Grand Opening exhibition Paul Signac: A Collection of Watercolors and Drawings (February 19 - April 9, 2000). The exhibition travels to selected museums in the United State and Europe. Then the works return as to a permanent gallery specially designed to display the work.”