Paul Signac

Original Prints: Lithographs


Inspired by Camille Pissarro* in the early 1880s and following the patriarch's longstanding committment to Impressionism, Paul Signac (1863 - 1935) created the derivative movement of Pointillism with his close friend Georges Seurat; although he produced relatively few prints, his color lithographs are to be counted among the masterpieces of this movement.

With Seurat, and in protest against the conservative Salon des Artistes Français, Signac co-founded the Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1884 , which he presided from 1908 until his death. The political implications here were also apparent, as may be seen in their motto, "Sans jury ni récompense" ["Without a jury or awards"].

As the result too of his long friendship with Gustave Caillebotte, Paul Signac became an avid sailor, which allowed him to pursue his art through a life-long interest in rendering seascapes and port scenes, as with the lithographs shown here.

* Pissarro and Signac were also closely linked to the libertarian movement in France, notably Jean Grave's anarchist newspaper, Les Temps Nouveaux, to which they both contributed militant lithographs.  Signac's contribution was entitled Les Démolisseurs (below), Kornfeld & Wick 15.II, a rare 2nd state impression.

Paul Signac, En Hollande, color lithograph, 1894

En Hollande — La Balise

In Holland The Beacon

Kornfeld & Wick 8

six-color lithograph, 1894, probably the 3rd state (of 3), signed in fine green crayon lower right, on fine chine paper, with variant colors (here tending to pastels), trimmed to the edges of the composition, as is usual.

This fine print was Signac's first lithograph for the pulisher Gustave Pellet, illustrating the port in Vlissingen, on the former island of Walcheren, in Zeeland.


Paul Signac, Les Bateaux, color lithograph, 1895

Les Bateaux

The Boats

Kornfeld & Wick 13

four-color lithograph, 1895, probably the 3rd state (of 3), unsigned, on fine wove paper, with full margins.

This print was Signac's last lithograph for Gustave Pellet, and one of his most atmospherically refined.


Paul Signac, Les Démolisseurs, lithograph, 1896

Les Démolisseurs

The Demolishers

Kornfeld & Wick 15

lithograph, 1896, the very rare 2nd state (of 4), on Van Gelder laid paper, with full margins.

This fine print was Signac's lithographic contribution to Jean Grave's anarchist publication, Les Temps Nouveaux, one of only a few impressions before the address, a forceful and monumental composition.


Paul Signac, Saint Malo I, lithograph 1927

Saint Malo I, II, and III

Kornfeld & Wick 25a, 26a, 27a

lithographs, circa 1927, trial proofs of the only known state, pulled prior to the quite limited edition of 26, on medium-weight cream wove paper, with wide margins

These three small prints (Saint Malo I shown here, left) were Signac's last prints, conceived as his contribution to an illustrated album of Stendhal's Mémoires d'un Touriste, published in 1927, and a fine recollection of his days spent sailing.