October 23, 2018

A work by Paul Signac joins the Franciscans' collections thanks to the generosity of benevolent "Friendsiscans

The Franciscan Museum has just enriched its graphic arts collection with a watercolor by Paul Signac (1863-1935). A great admirer of Delacroix and Jongkind, Signac painted his first works around 1882 under the influence of Claude Monet. A leading figure of the Neo-Impressionist movement, Signac was the king of color, which he exploded in his paintings.

Paul Signac, the watercolorist trotter

Marine (Caboteur à quai), ca. 1930, watercolor on paper (notebook page), Deauville, Musée des Franciscaines.

The discovery of the Mediterranean motifs in 1892 made him evolve towards another technique, that of watercolor. He devoted a large part of his production to it until it supplanted his oil compositions in the 1910s. Watercolor allowed him to transcribe in an instantaneous way the nature he observed and to capture the effects of air and water.
In the 1930's, this "watercolorist trotter" as he describes himself, in love with the sea and boats, decides to devote himself to one of his favorite subjects: the ports. With the help of small sketchbooks, he crisscrossed France in search of representations of rigging, coasters and port activities. These works, like the one acquired by the Musée des Franciscaines, show the freedom that the artist gained with the use of bright colors, far from a faithful retranscription of what he saw.
Today, Paul Signac's watercolors are kept in the greatest museums in the world: the Musée d'Orsay and the Petit-Palais in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock (United States), which holds more than a hundred watercolors, one of the most important collections of Signac's work.

I find nothing more pleasing to the eye than to be able to rest, in an exhibition of paintings, on the whites and blacks of the drawings, or on the pale hues of the watercolors.
Paul Signac, February 19, 1900
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