Lawrie Dignan - Canadian Pen and Ink Artist

Historical Pointillism

Here I have compiled information about the technique and many pointilism artists of Historical prominance. Enjoy the read with eyes wide open.

 

Traditional Technique:

 Pointillism is a style of painting in which small distinct points of primary colors create the impression of a wide selection of secondary and intermediate colors. The technique relies on the perceptive ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to mix the color spots into a fuller range of tones and is related closely to Divisionism, a more technical variant of the method. It is a style with few serious practitioners and is notably seen in the works of Seurat, Signac and Cross. The word Pointillism is actually the incorrect term used more popularly today than its actual name of Neo-Impressionism. The term itself was first coined by art critics in the late 1880s to ridicule the works of these artists and is now used without its earlier mocking connotation.

The practice of Pointillism is in sharp contrast to the more common method of blending pigments on a palette or using the many commercially available premixed colors. The latter is analogous to the CMYK ( Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black ) or four-color printing process used by personal color printers and large presses; Pointillism is not analogous to the colors and process used by computer monitors and television sets to produce colors; the latter uses green and no yellow at all to produce colors from green through orange as well as gray, brown and black.

 

My Technique of Pointillism:

 Above you will note that the technique called pointillism is done using only Primary Colors to gain the color values desired by the artist. I do have some inkling

 ( a pun …..and …. intended of course ! ) of what different colors do when you place one beside the other in points or as brushstrokes, however, for the most part I use and mix color in my pens that have come as they are from FW Artist Ink bottles. I was never trained in color theory, nor have I ever had the desire to do so. In saying that, I have learned a great deal about color while doing my drawings. I trust that has become apparent to those who might ask.

 

Historical Pointillism Artists:

 

George Seurat 1859 - 1891

 Georges Seurat, one of the members of 'Salon des Refuses' who learned from classical training and from contemporary art and was rejected by the official Salon, became the founder of Pointilism (Divisionism) in art.


He was born Georges-Pierre Seurat on December 2, 1859, in Paris, France. He was the youngest of three children in the family of a wealthy lawyer, Chrysostome-Antoine Seurat. His mother, named Ernestine Faivre, came from a prosperous Parisian family. During the early 1870s young Seurat was taking private drawing lessons from his uncle, painter Paul Haumonte, who took him on regular art expeditions. From 1875 he studied drawing under the sculptor Justin Lequien. From 1878-1879 Seurat studied art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His teacher Henri Lehmann was a disciple of the great neoclassical artist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, who was the student of Jacques-Louis David. That training was formative for his meticulous working procedure, which Seurat developed in his mature works. Having served at Brest Military Academy for one year, he returned to Paris and continued his art studies.
 During the year of 1883 Seurat was working on his first large painting 'La baignade a Asnieres' (Bathers at Asnieres 1883), which was rejected by the official Salon. However, the painting was exhibited by the Societe des Artistes Independants, which was organized as a second 'Salon des Refuses' (Salon of Refugees). At their initial show in 1884, Seurat's 'Bathers at Asnieres' was exhibited along with the works by , Paul Cezanne, 'Vincent Van Gogh', and Paul Signac. That was the beginning of Seurat's friendship with Signac, who connected him to the avant-garde group 'Les Vingdt' in Brussels. There Seurat exhibited seven of his works in 1887. His collaboration with Signac led to foundation and development of Neo-Impressionism, the artistic movement also known as Pointillism or Divisionism. Seurat himself preferred the term Divisionism.
 Seurat was a man of modest means and modest lifestyle. He was abstinent from alcohol, or any substances and stayed totally devoted to his art. He was known as a quiet and at times depressed, but robust and generous person. He was always helping his friends and arranging their exhibitions and hanging the paintings. He lived in his art-studio with his young model Madeleine Knobloch, whom he met in 1889. She came from a working class family and was not fully accepted by Seurat's established friends. In February of 1890, she gave birth to their son Pierre-George. Seurat was secretive about his private life, a trait he inherited from his father. He became traumatized at the news of the death of Vincent van Gough in 1890. Seurat introduced his young family to his parents just days before he was "choked to death" by a throat infection, diagnosed as diphtheria, which also killed his little son two weeks later, and killed his father after another month. Seurat died on March 29, 1891, and was laid to rest in the Cimitiere du Pere-Lachaise in Paris, France.
 Georges Seurat produced most of his works during the 1880's, which are regarded as one of the most salient periods of aesthetic change. He exhibited his last ambitious work, 'Le Circque' (The Circus 1891), while it was still unfinished. It was Seurat's visual retelling of the story of 'Freres Zemgano', a novel by 'Edmont De Goncourt' . During his short life Seurat made only seven large paintings, working for a year or more on each one. At the same time he made about five hundred smaller paintings and drawings. Seurat produced a strong stimulating effect on his fellow artists. Neo-Impressionists were later joined by Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Rousseau, and other artists who developed the idea of Pointillism (or Divisionism) in other artistic movements, such as Fauvism.
 Dividing colors in order to produce special effects was attempted by many artists. Seurat was the first one to meticulously fill every centimeter of his paintings with swirling swarms of small colorful dots which represented the desired color, when a painting was watched from a distance. His work quality ascended to such an artistic height, that it attracted masses of followers and made a lasting impact on generations of artists, designers, architects, photographers, cinematographers, and even on today's cutting-edge digital software developers. Seurat's influence on fashion design was evident in some successful fashion collections from such acclaimed couturiers as Oleg Cassini, whose use of color patterns alluded to those of Seurat's, as well, as Vyacheslave Zaitsev and Pierre Cardin among many others.
 Seurat's visual language, his innovative and thoughtful interplay of colors, possesses the ability to tune up our mind into a special state of awareness, that enables us to see the fullness of images in the visual feast of this wonderful world.

 George Seurat was born on December 2, 1859 inParis. His father was a native toChampagne, and his mother was a Parisian. He lived at 100 Boulevard Magenta with his parents, a brother, Emile, and a sister, Marie-Berthe.

In 1875 Seurat took drawing lessons under the sculptor Justin Lequien. Seurat also took lessons from an artist named Ingres. Ingres didn't paint like Seurat did. But he was the praised student of Jacques-Louis David. Ingres was know for his meticulous working procedure in his works.

Seurat spent his life studying color theories and the effects of different linear structures. He developed the style of painting known as Pointillism. He had 500 works of art of his own and he was proclaimed to be a master. But it isn't just the number of his works that make him an expert. His magnificent pointillist pieces in make him the famous artist that he is today.

Some of his most famous paintings include:

-Bathing at Asnieres

-A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

-Le Chabut

-Eden Concert

Seurat was not just interested in the way that the colors were put onto the painting or the painting itself. He was mostly concentrating on the science in the picture and the optical mixing of the colors. Before actually painting the picture, he would sketch out parts of his artwork so that the models would not have to wait forever while he found the exact color.

Seurat had many people who really didn't like the new work that he was introducing. They may have thought it as "fuzzy" or "messy". In their opinion it really wasn't very good at all. But there were some artists who really felt that what he was doing was very artistic and complicated. Paul Signanc, a fellow artist, was one of those people. He praised Seurat very much. In one of his journal entries he says of Seurat: "He surveyed the scene and has made these very important contributions: his black and white, his harmony of lines, his composition, his contrast and harmony of colour, even his frames. What more can you ask of a painter?"

Signac also commented on the importance of color purity in a pointillist piece: "I attach more and more importance to the purity of the brushstroke - I try to give it maximum purity and intensity. Any defiling sleight of hand or smearing disgusts me. When one can paint with jewels, why use [manure]? Each time that my brushstroke happens to come up against another, not yet dry, and this mixture produces a dirty tone, I feel great physical disgust! It is this passion for beautiful colours which make us paint as we do...and not the love of the 'dot', as foolish people say." Signac states here that the pointillist artists were not physically into their paintings for the "dot" as most people would think. But for the phenomenal optical mixing of the colors themselves.

Seurat invented a way to show colors as they really are. Not mixed or dulled or anything else. He invented art in which you are allowed to keep the purity of the colors as they come from the tube, and yet still paint and use an abundance of tones to bring life to your painting. We all have him to thank for that. So whether you like the "fuzziness" of pointillist paintings or not, note the concentration that a pointillist artist would have to have to create a piece that would have to be pleasing to the eye as well as scientifically stimulating.

 

Paul Signac  1863 - 1935

Paul Victor Jules Signac or Paul Signac, one of the most admired French 'Neo-Impressionist' painter and the co-originator of 'Pointillism' or 'Divisionism,' was born into an affluent bourgeois family in Paris, on November 11, 1863. Paul was a revolutionary artist who was also fond of sea and sailing. His first boat was a canoe that he named Manet Zola Wagner. The name hinted at his youthful fervor for avant-garde & unconventional artistry, while simultaneously staying indecisive about his occupation.

At the age of eighteen, while pursuing a course in architecture, Paul Signac set eyes on Claude Monet's paintings, exhibited at the offices of La Vie, in June 1880. This triggered his interest in painting. Paul never undertook a formal training in arts. Whatever knowledge he had was a result of the self-study of the works of Manet, Monet, Degas, and Caillebotte. By 1882, the artist produced his first series of vibrantly colored studies & human figures, with his companion Berthe Robles, as his model. Paul's early works characterize an evident taste for frontals, geometric arrangements, and a predilection for colors.

Signac met Monet and Georges Seurat in 1884. Seurat's methodical working & his theory of colors floored Paul, and he instantly becoming a devoted follower of Seurat. Under Seurat's influence, Signac drifted away from the short brushstrokes of 'Impressionism' to experiment with 'Pointillism,' a technique where small dots of pure colors are skillfully put adjacently, with an intention to create a visual blend of colors in a viewer's eyes more than on the canvass. "Two Milliners" (1885) was the artist's first 'Neo-Impressionist' or 'Pointillist' piece of work. Seurat started his iconic huge painting, 'A Sunday Afternoon on theIslandofLa Grande Jatte,' in 1884, but Paul reworked on it in 1885, to incorporate the 'Division' technique, on Seurat's recommendation.

Signac participated in the first Salon des Artistes Independants in 1884, and continued to contribute annually. He was the first non-Belgian associate of avant-garde Brussels Société des XX. The same year he met Armand Guillaumin and a year later met Camille Pissarro. The year 1885 was Signac's signature year with his paintings exposited at a major exhibition, the Ecole des Beaux Arts, while also featuring in Alfred Robaut's first catalogue. The artist even exhibited along with Seurat and Van Gogh in Paris in 1887, at the Le Théatre Libre.

In 1890, Paul's journalist friend, Felix Fénéon, covered an article, 'Les Hommes d'Aujourd'Hui,' mentioning about the artist's works. In 1899, Signac authored, "From Eugene Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism," where he talks about the various art ideas, theories, methodologies, and movements he experienced and was a part of. Following Seurat's death in 1891, Signac helped with listing and classifying his works. The artist perceived himself as the new leader of the 'Neo-Impressionism.' He organized 'Neo-Impressionist' group and memorial shows for Van Gogh and Seurat, in 1891 and 1892 respectively. He married Berther Robles on November 7, 1892.

By 1900, Signac stirred away from 'Pointillism,' as he never restricted himself to one medium. He experimented with oil paintings, watercolors, etchings, lithographs, and pen-and-ink sketches. Signac was the President of the annual Salon des Independants from 1908, until his death. He was an inspiration particularly to Henri Matisse, André Derian, and to many other amateur artists, as he encouraged them to exhibit the controversial works of the 'Fauves' and the 'Cubists,' thereby also leveraging the evolution of Fauvism. Paul started a live in relationship with Jeanne Selmersheim-Desgrange in September 1913. The couple was blessed with a daughter in October 1913.

Through his life, the artist created several watercolor paintings of European seascapes, landscapes, and French cities. Signac's celebrated masterpieces are "The Bonaventure Pine in Saint Tropez," (1893), "Port St. Tropez," (1899), "View of thePortofMarseilles" (1905), and "The Blessing of the Tuna Fleet at Groix" (1923). Paul Signac died on August 15, 1935, inParis, from septicemia. He was buried at thePèreLachaiseCemetery.

 

Charles Angrand   1854-1926

   The French Impressionist and Pointillist  painter Charles Angrand, grew up in middleclass home in Criquetot-sur-Ouville, France. His father was a local headmaster and his mother took in ironing when times got tough. Young Charles was a gifted artist from a young age. When he moved to Paris in the fall of 1882 he met Paul Signac and George Sueurat, through a prostitute who also worked as a model. The three artists became great friends almost immediately, spending hours at cafes drinking absinthe and discussing art. Angrand soon fell under the spell of Georges Seurat, and took up his pointillist style. In 1884 he helped found the Salon des Indépendants along with a group of avant-garde painters in Paris. To make ends meet he also gave art lessons at the Lycée Chaptal in Paris.
 

 When Seurat died suddenly on March 29, 1891, Angrand became heartbroken with grief and spiraled into a deep depression. For a long while the joy and brightness seemed to leave Angrand and he gave up painting.  He went to Normandyand gave up painting. Angrand died disillusion by the art world in 1926. 

 

 

Théo van Rysselberghe    1862-1926

 

Théo van Rysselberghe, Belgian painter, was born in Ghent in 1862. He studied art at the Academies in Ghent and Brussels, and in 1881 exhibited for the first time at the Salon in Brussels. After the success of the French Impressionists exhibition in Brussels in early 1880s, Théo van Rysselberghe began to explore their technique. In 1883 he became a co-founder of the avant-garde group  of Brussels intellectuals ‘Les-Vingt’.  In 1886  he painter traveled with the poet Emile Verhaeren to Paris,  where he met Georges Seurat (1859-1891) and admired his painting ‘A Sunday Afternoon at the Island of Grande Jatte’. After the contacts with Neo-Impressionists in Paris Théo van Rysselberghe turned to Pointillism himself, becoming the main exponent of the style in Belgium. In the late 1880s- early 1890s the painter traveled in Spain, North Africa, the Middle East and Europe. From 1897 he lived in Paris.

After the death of Georges Seurat, Théo van Rysselberghe gradually abandoned the Pointillist technique. Despite their friendship Paul Signac often criticized him, thinking that Théo did it only for commercial success. We think that Impressionist style of brushwork gives more opportunities to a painter and van Rysselberghe’s switch from Pointillism was to broaden his methods of expressing himself.

Théo van Rysselberghe died in 1926 in St. Clair. 

 

Camille Pissarro  1830 - 1903

Jacob’Abraham’Camille Pissarro was born on July 10, 1830, to  French Jewish parents on the West Indies island of Saint Thomas. Sent to boarding school inFrance, he returned after six years to work in his parents’ store. Pissarro abandoned this comfortable bourgeois existence at the age of twenty-two, when he left forCaracaswith Danish painter Fritz Melbye, who became his first serious artistic influence.

After returning briefly toSaint Thomas,  issarro left in  1855 forParis, where he studied at various academic institutions (including the École des Beaux-Arts and  Académie Suisse)  and under a succession of masters, such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Gustave Courbet, and Charles-François Daubigny. Corot is often considered Pissarro’s most  important early influence; Pissarro listed himself as Corot’s pupil in the catalogues to the 1864 and 1865 Paris Salons. While Pissarro was accepted to show at the official Salon throughout the 1860s, in 1863 he participated with Edouard Manet, James  Abbott McNeill Whistler,  and others in the historic Salon des Refusés. At the close of the decade, he moved to Louveciennes (near the Seine, twenty miles fromParis). Working in close proximity with Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley, he began to revise his method of landscape painting, privileging the role of color in his expression of natural phenomena and employing smaller patches of paint. This artistic circle was dispersed by the Franco-Prussian War, which Pissarro fled by  moving toLondonin 1870–71. There he met Paul Durand-Ruel, the Parisian dealer who would become an ardent supporter of Pissarro and his fellow Impressionists. Pissarro participated in his last official Salon in 1870.

The years after Pissarro’s return to Francewere seminal ones. He settled in Pontoise, where he received young artists seeking advice, including Paul Cézanne and Paul Gauguin. He took part in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. Pissarro—along with Edgar Degas, one of the Salon’s most passionate critics—was the only artist to show at all eight of the Impressionist exhibitions, the last of which took place in 1886.

Pissarro experienced somewhat of an artistic crisis in 1885. As he had done consistently throughout his career, he opened himself up to fresh influences by meeting with the younger generation, this time with Paul Signac and Georges Seurat, who were experimenting with a divisionist technique rooted in the scientific study of optics.

Pissarro lived long enough to witness the start of the Impressionists’ fame and influence. He was revered by the Post-Impressionists, including Cézanne and Gauguin, who both referred to him toward the end of their own careers as their “master.” In the last years of his life, Pissarro experienced eye trouble, which forced him to abandon outdoor painting. He continued to work in his studio until his death inParison November 13, 1903.

 

Henri Edmond Cross   1856 - 1910

The only surviving child of Alcide Delacroix, a French adventurer and failed businessman, and the British-born Fanny Woollett, he was encouraged as a youth to develop his artistic talent by his father’s cousin, Dr Auguste Soins. He enrolled in 1878 at the Ecoles Académiques de Dessin et d’Architecture in Lille, where he remained for three years under the guidance of Alphonse Colas (1818–87). He then moved to Paris and studied with Emile Dupont-Zipcy (1822–65), also from Douai, whom he listed as his teacher when exhibiting at Salons of the early 1880s. His few extant works from this period are Realist portraits and still-lifes, painted with a heavy touch and sombre palette (example in Douai, Musée Municipal)

To avoid working under the shadow of his celebrated namesake, Eugène Delacroix, in 1881 he adopted an abbreviated English version of his surname, signing his works ‘Henri Cross’ until around 1886, when he adopted ‘Henri Edmond Cross’ to avoid being confused with the painter Henri Cros.


In 1884 Cross helped to found the Société des Artistes Indépendants and through it became friends with many of the Neo-Impressionists. However, he only gradually assimilated avant-garde stylistic innovations. He lightened his palette and began painting figures en plein air in the mid-1880s. Monaco (1884; Douai, Mus. Mun.)reveals his study of both Jules Bastien-Lepage and Manet. Towards the end of the decade, when he was increasingly influenced by Monet and Pissarro, he began to paint pure landscapes.


Cross’s career took a decisive turn in 1891, when he adopted the Neo-Impressionist technique and showed at the Indépendants exhibition his first large work in this style, the portrait of Mme H. F. (now titled portrait of Mme Cross; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay). Also in this year, he moved to the south of France, staying first at Cabasson and then settling in Saint-Clair, a small hamlet near St Tropez where Signac also took up residence in 1892. Cross lived in Saint-Clair for the rest of his life, travelling twice to Italy (1903 and 1908) and annually to Paris for the Indépendants shows.


In the early and mid-1890s, as he developed the Neo-Impressionist method, Cross concentrated on seascapes and scenes of peasants at work. The Beach of Baigne-Cul (1891–2; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.) is characteristic of his highly regular technique: over a densely painted ground he placed small and relatively round touches in rows, more or less equally spaced, and mixed colours with white to express the bleaching action of sunlight. The Farm (Evening) (1893; priv. col., see Compin, p. 129) exhibits his decorative use of sensuous silhouettes and recalls the Japanese prints and Art Nouveau designs that inspired other Neo-Impressionists at this time.


After the mid-1890s Cross ceased to depict peasants but continued to paint seascapes while exploring such new subjects as the everyday dances shown in Village Dance (1896; Toledo, OH, Mus. A.). Working with his neighbour Signac, he gradually abandoned the dot of earlier Neo-Impressionism and employed instead large and blocky strokes; this technique allowed for intense colour contrasts and created decisively decorative, mosaic-like surfaces. Now associated with the so-called ‘second’ Neo-Impressionist style, these developments inspired Matisse and the other Fauves who visited the south of France in the early 1900s. Also influential on these painters were the nude bathers and mythological figures, particularly the nymphs and fauns, which Cross introduced into his late seascapes.


Cross shared the utopian and anarchist beliefs of many of the Neo-Impressionists. In 1896 he contributed an anonymous lithograph entitled The Wanderer to Jean Grave’s anarchist publication, Temps nouveaux. Later he created cover illustrations for several brochures issued by the same journal. Interpretations of Cross’s large painting, the Air of Evening (1893–4; Paris, Mus. d’Orsay), have stressed the presence of anarchist-inspired sentiments. Like Signac’s In the Time of Harmony (Montreuil, Mairie) from the same period, Cross’s depiction of languorous seaside leisure seems designed to suggest the joy that would be unleashed by anarchy.

The comparatively small size of Cross’s oeuvre can be partly attributed to his ill health. Eye problems, which emerged in the early 1880s, worsened in the early 1900s, and bouts of arthritis also kept him from working. Nonetheless, during the last decade of his life he mounted important one-man shows in Paris (Galerie Druet, 1905; Bernheim-Jeune, 1907) and as a result began finally to find a market and enthusiastic critical response.

 

Maximilien Luce    1858 - 1941

 From early youth he mixed with impoverished artisans and workers constructing major roads and other works. At the age of thirteen, he was an appalled witness of the massacres carried out by government forces against the revolutionaries of the Paris Commune of 1871. This was to haunt him for all his life. The following year, to ensure his survival he had to go to work. The illustrated papers were coming into their own at this time in Paris, and Maximilien’s father placed him as an apprentice in a wood engraving workshop, where he became a skilled worker. At the same time he began to draw and to paint scenes from the working class neighbourhoods, especially of Montrouge where he lived, taking night courses in painting.

It was in 1887 that he began to reveal his talent. He joined the Society of Independent Artists, of which he remained a life-long member, and exhibited at their Salon. He was welcomed by the painters Seurat, Signac and Pissarro. The latter two were avowed anarchists, and whilst Signac was sympathetic, Seurat remained reticent. He also knew the journalist, art critic and anarchist Felix Feneon. Feneon described Luce as a ‘barbaric but robust and plucky painter’.

Luce was no theoretician but he absorbed the ideas of Seurat on painting, which became known as neo-impressionism. The neo-impressionists painted in pure di- vided tones in a ‘scientific’ fashion, not mixing colours on the palette or the canvas. By dividing tones the small spots of pure colour came together in the eyes of the observer, creating harmonious and vibrant masses of colour. Luce took liberties with the theories of Seurat. He contrasted areas of the canvas where the spots of colour were thickly gathered together with other areas of the canvas where the colour spots were separated by white spaces. This gave his paintings a vibrant dynamism. He marked himself out by his refined use of the spectrum and his frequent use of a range of violet colours to produce superb effects of light. However, from 1897 he moved away from this ‘divisionist’ style towards a more classic impressionism, whilst retaining his use of vibrant colours and thickly crowded spaces.

He had contempt for the art dealers and journalists who he felt were totally ignorant of the aims of the neo-impressionists. He wanted to be a witness of the times he was living through, painting the busy streets of Paris at the same time as landscapes and indicating the dehumanising effects of industrialisation.

Encouraged by the cobbler

Eugene-Frederic Givort, whom he had first met during military service, and by the worker Eugene Baillet, he joined them in participating in the activities of the anarchist group of the 14th arrondissement. At the end of the 1880s he became a friend of the anarchists Émile Pouget and Jean Grave. Pouget edited the anarchist paper Le Pere Peinard and Grave edited the anarchist paper La Revolte. Luce, not surprisingly given his past experiences, detested the army, the clergy, and the royalists and nationalists. He began to contribute to the anarchist press, being one of the first artists to come to the aid of Pere Peinard, providing more than 200 designs or lithographs right up to 1914. He was also the principal illustrator for Grave’s new paper Les temps Nouveaux, from 1895 to 1914, supplying its first poster in 1896, ‘L’Incendiare’ (‘The Incendiary’).

In July 1894 Luce was arrested and imprisoned at Mazas with Feneon, Grave and another notable anarchist, Sebastien Faure, following the wave of repression against the anarchist movement. Luce was accused of inciting the people to revolt through his sketches. But due to insufficient evidence he was acquitted and freed on 17 August, after forty eight days in jail. Far from deterring Luce, this only strengthened his anarchist convictions. He published an album of ten lithographs on prison life at Mazas. Every prisoner depicted in the lithographs had either the face of Feneon or of himself. The finishing text of the album was ‘Open the cells, beat down the walls of the prison galleries..’

For a while he exiled himself to Charleroi in Belgium, but was again arrested and imprisoned for several days in 1896 during the visit of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Apart from his portraits of Fene- on, Pissarro, Signac, Louise Michel and his studies for the execution of the Communard Eugene Varlin, Luce created many paintings of the mining area of the Borinage between 1895 and 1900. He was fascinated by the blight of industrialisation on this region, depict- ing the furnaces and mines. With Signac he journeyed deep down in a mine to gain some experience of the life of miners. In L’Acierie (the Steelworks) executed in 1895 he contrasts fire and light with shadows, with the labouring workers silhouetted.

From 1903, and more than thirty years after the events, he began a series devoted to the Paris Commune. One of them, ‘Une rue de Paris en Mai 1871’, he depicts the corpses of four shot Communards, one of them a women, lying alongside piles of cobbles. He exhibited this at the Salon of the Independent Artists in 1905. During the First World War, he produced many paintings of the horrors of war and of returning and wounded soldiers. In the 1930s he  concentrated on landscapes and on urban scenes de- picting the life of dockers, building workers, labourers and fishermen He succeeded Signac as President of the Society of Independent Artists in 1935 but resigned his post in 1940 to protest against the racial laws passed by the Vichy regime which banned Jewish artists from all official groups. He died the following year. Certainly his anarchist convictions led to his lack of recognition as an impor- tant painter during his life time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my . artist run website