Look closely and you’ll see clusters of bright dabs of color. Then take a few steps back and watch as a dreamy seascape comes into focus. Paul Signac pushed the artistic breakthroughs of the Impressionists in a more disciplined direction by studying modern optics and color theory. Together with Georges Seurat, he developed a method of painting in tiny touches of pure color carefully placed on the canvas according to specific chromatic properties. The experimental style, called Divisionism, allowed the viewer’s eyes to meld the individual dots of color into harmonious scenes.
By 1905, however, Signac began to reject his own highly disciplined technique, adopting the looser and more decorative mode seen here. In this lush view of a Venetian lagoon, the artist abandons topographical accuracy for a sweeping mosaic of sensuous color.