French ‘Neo-Impressionist’ painter Paul Signac or Paul Victor Jules Signac (11 November 1863 – 15 August 1935) was born into a bourgeois family in Paris. Paul aimed architecture as his career, until he dropped the idea at the age of eighteen to start a career in painting. He voyaged near the coasts of Europe, painting the scenery he came across. Later on, Paul also painted the landscapes of cities in France. The turning point of Signac’s painting career was in 1884, when he met Georges Seurat and Claude Monet. The disciplined working techniques of Seurat and his ideas of colors impressed Signac. Inspired by Seurat, Paul abandoned the tiny brushstrokes of ‘Impressionism’ to trail with technically juxtaposed minute dots of pure colors, planned to mixed and blend not only on the canvas, but also in the spectator’s eye, the defining trait of ‘Pointillism.’ Paul’s most famous painting “The Bonaventure Pine in St. Tropez (Le pin de Bonaventura a Saint-Tropez)” is a stunner. His other famous works include ‘Port St. Tropez and,’ ‘Saint Tropez,’ and ‘The Papal Palace.’
Created in 1892, “The Bonaventure Pine in St. Tropez” is an oil on canvas ‘Landscape Painting.’ In his painting, Signac captures a huge Umbrella Pine in St. Tropez, on a canvas of 25″ x 32″. The artist painted the bright light shining off the deep surface of pine needles, sea, and the grass covered land. The painting reflects a perfect blend of sky, earth, and sea. The background of “The Bonaventure Pine in St. Tropez” is an abstraction of green, white, blue, yellow, and orange. The landscape behind the Bonaventure Pine tree, the cloudy sky, the mountain, and the boat sailing in the sea, promise the beauty and the passivity of the painting. Paul repeatedly placed consistently shaped dots of pigments stream and swirls, defining lustrous contours.
The best part of “The Bonaventure Pine in St. Tropez” is the usage of many dots of paint like light pixel. Through ‘Pointillism,’ Paul mixes light from far away into the retina of the eye and lets the brain do the mixing of the color instead of him mixing the color on the canvas. “The Bonaventure Pine in St. Tropez” in fact, is a painting of contemporary movement, which departs from the usual ‘Photo-Realism’ of the time.
By 1900, Paul Signac moved away from ‘Pointillism,’ as he never stopped himself to one medium. He experimented with watercolors, oil paintings, pen-and-ink sketches, etchings, and lithographs. Until his death in 1935, Paul was the president of the annual Salon des Independent (Society of Independent Artists). He was a motivation mainly for André Derain, Henri Matisse and to various other amateur painters, as he inspired them towards the work of ‘Fauves’ and the ‘Cubists,’ thereby also leveraging the growth of ‘Fauvism.’ “The Bonaventure Pine in St. Tropez” is presently displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA.