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French artist Paul Signac is famous for his Pointillist painting style and for his friendship with his fellow Neo-Impressionist Georges Seurat.
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Signac was also committed to radical politics in pursuit of a more democratic future, and like many artists of his generation, he joined the anarchist movement. His painting "The Wreckers" (1897-99), showing a laborer working with a pickaxe, may refer to his wish to destroy older ways of life in order to establish better societal conditions.
In his late career, Signac began working from memory and from his imagination rather than from direct observation. He used looser brushwork and broader touches of paint, and he began to produce numerous watercolors and drawings.
As an older artist, Signac guided younger painters who were beginning their careers. He was a friend and mentor to Henri Matisse, who visited him in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera in 1904. He also became an art collector, amassing a collection of some 250 works.
Although Signac had been supported by several important art critics since the 1880s, he did not receive acceptance from the larger art world or the public until the turn of the century. His first one-man exhibition was held at a gallery in Paris in 1901.
In 1913, Signac separated from his wife, Berthe (Roblès) Signac, and moved to Antibes with his mistress, Jeanne Selmershein-Desgranges, and their daughter, Ginette.
Signac died in Paris on August 15, 1935. His paintings are now owned by major museums, galleries and private art collections around the world.
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