La Rochelle, le phare
Watercolour and black chalk on laid paper. 28.8 x 44.6 cm. Framed under glass. Signed, dated and titled 'P. Signac La Rochelle 1926' in black chalk lower left. - With very fresh colours, the paper very slightly browned and with a narrow light-stain. The upper and lower edges very slightly trimmed, sheet mounted on light card.
Paul Signac was a passionate sailor and owned several sailing boats, which were anchored in the harbour of Saint-Tropez. This passion and the glistening light on the French coasts were his inspiration and starting point for a whole series of luminous harbour and coastal paintings. Like Claude Monet before him, Signac's painterly journey began in Normandy, the cradle of Impressionism. Not far from there is Saint-Malo in Brittany, to which many painters from Paris were drawn since there was a direct railway connection. The extraordinary light conditions on the peninsula, coupled with the exoticism of the region, also inspired Signac, who focused on two imposing three-masters in the harbour for the offered watercolour "Saint-Malo". With a few but sure brushstrokes in blue, yellow, red and violet, he sketched a serene maritime scene, positioning the left-hand ship so that it skilfully directs our gaze into the depths. Using the wavy lines to suggest the passing clouds, he was also able to convey the gathering wind. From the 1920s onwards, Signac also liked to spend his summers on the Atlantic coast in La Rochelle on the Bay of Biscay, which is still considered the city of sailors today. The medieval harbour with its fortifications and the old lighthouse can be found as motifs in the second watercolour "La Rochelle. Le phare" as motifs. Signac conjured up this maritime scene on paper with a unique feeling for colour and thousands of brush strokes as well as short strokes in intense green and blue.
With a confirmation by Françoise Chibret, Galerie de la Présidence, Paris. With a confirming letter from Françoise Cachin, Catalogue Raisonné de l'oeuvre peint de Paul Signac, Paris, dated 16 December 1991.
Gaston Lévy Collection, Paris; Galerie Vildrac, Paris (with old label on the frame backing card); Galerie de la Présidence, Paris; Private collection, Bavaria