Paul Signac - The Port of Marseille

by Alexandra Tuschka


Paul Signac, unmistakable follower of Pointilism, has immortalized in this work the port of Marseille in virtuoso points on the canvas. Actually, the young Frenchman wanted to become an architect; however, this changed at the age of 21, when Signac met Monet and Seurat. Their attitudes and painting style greatly impressed Signac. Although he was based in Paris, from 1892 he visited various French cities in the summer with a small boat, touring the ports of Western Europe and capturing them picturesquely.

For this painting, the artist went to the south of France. There he sketched his impressions in watercolors, which he then later transferred to canvas in oil. The name " Pointilism " is not completely accurate in this case, because Signac arranged his surfaces rectangular next to each other. The sailing ship in the center dominates the middle section and is flanked by rose-tinted surroundings. Green tones intersperse the lower part of the picture. In this rather still image, only the smoke leaving a vent on the right reveals that people live here. This is also where the only round shapes are found.


Paul Signac - The Port of Marseille

Oil on canvas, 1906, 46 x 55 cm, Hermitage in St. Petersburg

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