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European Art

coast scene, sailboats in the water, mountains in the background, brush strokes look like dots


Paul Signac
France, 1863-1935
Coast Scene, 1893
Oil on canvas
18 1/2 x 22 in.
The Aaron M. and Clara Weitzenhoffer Collection, 2000

Signac decided to become an artist after visiting a Monet exhibition in 1880, and his early works were in an Impressionist style. A few years later, he met Georges Seurat, and together with Camille Pissarro, they forged the Neo-Impressionist movement. [For more on Neo-Impressionism, see Pissarro's Bergère rentrant des moutons.]


Signac coined the term "Divisionism" to describe the Neo-Impressionist separation of color into dots or patches of pure hues, as seen in the present work. ("Pointillism" refers specifically to the use of dots.) In 1899 he wrote From Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism, a book that had a great impact on German and Italian artists as well as on the French Fauves.


An avid sailor, Signac moved in 1892 from Paris to St. Tropez, in the south of France on the Riviera. He painted in a Neo-Impressionist style for the rest of his career.