Signed 'P.Signac' lower right and inscribed 'Marseille' and dated '98' lower left
Watercolour and pencil on paper
7 1/8 x 9 7/8 in, 17.8 x 25 cm
Situated on the South coast of France, Marseille was one of the largest ports in the country and the gateway to the Mediterranean, inspiring Signac to depict the scene on...
Situated on the South coast of France, Marseille was one of the largest ports in the country and the gateway to the Mediterranean, inspiring Signac to depict the scene on a number of occasions. From this watercolour he created three oil paintings including 'Entrée du port de Marseille' which belongs to the Kröller-Müller Museum, Netherlands. A number of other important paintings also feature Marseille’s port, including 'Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde (La Bonne-Mère), Marseilles' (1905-6), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and 'L'entrée du port de Marseille' (1911), Musée d’Orsay.
This work is characteristic of the beautiful watercolours Signac painted en plein air whilst sailing between different ports. Pissarro had encouraged Signac to use watercolour, telling him: “in just a few minutes you can take notes that would be impossible by other means...effects are so fleeting”. Signac recognised that this medium enabled him to capture “the wind, the tide, the current, and the sails”. His bold palette and use of pure colour evident in this work was later to influence the Fauve artists, including Matisse, who also worked in the South of France.
Like Turner, whose work he had seen earlier that year during a trip to London, Signac has deliberately left pencil marks visible to the viewer’s eye. Also like Turner he has offered an idealised version of the bustling industrial port. The boats are set against a soft city skyline and the whole composition is imbued with a rose-golden glow.
Private Collection, France
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authentication dated 16 March 2015 and signed by Madame Ferretti