Friday, April 29, 2005

Paul signac developes A horror of the dot .....

My friend Suzi who is a writer and art historian and i went to the Met to see the art work..
We visited the Master NeoImpressionists and we looked at the Dots dots dots...we read the descriptions and found that near the lovely paintings by Signac...that he developed a HORROR OF THE DOT....HOw can a pointillist have a HORROR of the DOT...
its just not right... since then we have referred to the HORROR of the DOT.. gotten a bad case of THE HORROR OF THE DOT... most recently called it A Horror O' the dot..

this season's haute couture is all about DOTs.. they are going to be everywhere...DOTS and DOTS and DOTS...

READ ON CHICKIDEES..... You too may get the HORROR of the DOT ....

Signac 1863-1935

Master Neo-Impressionist

Review by Johanna Garfield

If Neo-Impressionism were "a kind of religion, it would claim... Georges Seurat as its Messiah and Paul Signac as its Saint Paul," said one critic a century ago. Certainly, the names of the two are inextricably interwoven, with Signac known to many primarily as the follower and promoter of Seurat's "pointillism," exemplified in his best-known work, 'A Sunday on the Grand Jatte.'

Sometimes known as "divisionism" -- or more colorfully, "confettiism" -- pointillism was based on the juxtaposition of tiny dots ("points") of pure color, which Seurat felt the brain would involuntarily mix to produce a more brilliant and harmonious result than the muddy, overlapping strokes of the Impressionists. (Hence the term, "Neo"-Impressionists for Seurat and his followers.)

What the organizers of the retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum attempt to show is that Signac was a brilliant and innovative artist in his own right. And though some may disagree, I feel that in the huge exhibit of 120 works in seven chronologically organized rooms, they succeed.

The fact is that the young Signac, who quit school at 16 and proceeded to teach himself painting by studying the works of other painters, was more influenced by Monet than any other artist. The first gallery, which starts when Signac was twenty, covers the first two years of his artistic life in Paris (1883-1885), when he followed Monet's example and painted "plein-air" studies along the Seine.

At this time he was frequenting Montmartre cafés and literary soirées and was determined to become a progressive artist, avoiding the traditional Ecole des Beaux Arts. His striking 'Montmartre Study: Studio,' done when he was only twenty, with its pair of legs emerging from the right hand side of the canvas, and a candle in the middle that stands out from the light in the window, is strikingly modern in feel, despite the Impressionist brushwork. During these early years, he was also influenced by the then-Impressionist Camille Pissarro, whose cousin Berthe Robles he painted in his erotic l883 'The Red Stocking.' Ten years later, they were married.

Though he met Seurat in l884 and saw his monumental 'Bathers at Asnieres,' he did not immediately become his disciple. That occurred in l886 when 'La Grande Jatte' was the centerpiece of a room at the last Impressionist exhibition, which also included works by Pissarro and Signac himself. It was then that Signac took on the role of booster for the new movement, and as such was soon a prominent figure of the Parisian avant-garde.

His own style was immediately altered by his friend and colleague as well. His technique became more controlled and refined (see the transitional paintings of the 'Junction at Bois-Colombes'), and he even went so far as to go back to a Paris snow scene -- his only snow scene, incidentally -- to add dots to it. He was aware that his 1886 'Riverbend, Les Andelys' (Les Andelys was a suburb about 60 miles from Paris) and the other nine paintings he did there in the Neo-Impressionist style were a turning point. Such delightful if stilted works as 'Sunday' and 'The Dining Room' -- about which one reviewer said, "After the 'Grande Jatte' of M. Seurat we have the 'petit tasse' [little cup] of M. Signac" -- also show Neo-Impressionism's enormous impact on the young artist.

But in time Signac began to go his own way, both geographically and artistically. He visited Van Gogh, whom he admired (though he felt he could depict color more accurately himself) and began to explore areas untouched by Seurat. A passionate yachtsman, he spent his summers at coastal resorts and painted a dazzling series of seascapes that, though they still reflected Seurat's influence, also show his interest in modern themes, and in the connection between art and music. He began to assign opus numbers to his work and added musical tempos, such as 'Adagio' and 'Scherzo' to his titles.

With Seurat's sudden death in l891 from infectious angina (he was only 31) Signac increasingly followed his own vision. Just about halfway through the show is a dazzling portrait of his biographer and good friend, the critic Felix Fénéon. In this tour de force, Signac's humor -- the starburst of colors around Fénéon's head spoofs the "chromatic circle" then favored by painters -- as well as the influence of "japonisme" and pointillism, are all on display. But so is his very individual brilliance.

By the mid-1890s Signac had developed a horror of the dot for his own art, though he continued to champion Seurat and other Neo-Impressionists.
(He wrote an influential treatise on the movement.) He discovered St. Tropez in l892 and established his second residence there, far from what he described as "Paris and its so-called intellectual crap," though he retained ties to the capital as an outlet for his work.

Then, in 1892, he discovered the joys of watercolor. The ability to use brilliant colors quickly and spontaneously had a liberating effect, and the harbor scenes and other paintings from the last thirty-five years of his life are quite astounding. Some of the standouts are 'Flood at the Pont Royal,' (1926) with one of ghis favorite motifs, the bridge; the striking colors of 'Fishing Boats, Le Pouligen' (1928) and the richly patterned, mosaic-like 'The Tuna Boats, Groix' (1929).

The retrospective, which includes many other portraits, drawings, and a number of prints, should go far in countering Signac's reputation as simply the second man of Neo-Impressionism.Signac 1863-1935