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Lot n° 3

Paul SIGNAC (1863-1935)

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Pilot of the Meuse, 1924. Oil on canvas. Signed and dated lower right. 50 x 65 cm. Attached are nine typescripts by Edmond Sussfeld, three autographed letters signed by Paul Signac, two autographed letters signed by Paul Signac and the invoice from the dealer Léon Marseille. Provenance: Gallery, Léon Marseille, Paris. Collection Edmond Sussfeld. Then by descent to the present owner. Exhibition: Paris, 1930, Bernheim-Jeune, Paul Signac, n°40 reproduced. Paris, 1934, Petit-Palais, Paul Signac, n°35. Viroflay, 1965, Salon du Souvenir de Corot, 13th exhibition. Bibliography : Françoise Cachin, Signac: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 2000, no. 565 reproduced p. 323. Related work : Pilote de la Meuse, ink wash preparatory to our painting, probably 1924, private collection. We thank Mrs. Charlotte Hellman-Cachin - Signac Archives, and Mrs. Marina Ferretti-Bocquillon for the information provided. A certificate of authenticity from Mrs. Marina Ferretti-Bocquillon will be given to the buyer. PILOT OF THE MEUSE For "Pilot of the Meuse", Signac returns to a motif explored eighteen years earlier. He elaborated a sober composition, already used in certain ports and seascapes of the 1890s, which translates his desire for order and clarity: a rigorous structure of horizontal and vertical lines is tempered by a few oblique lines (masts of the boats and the inclined chimney of the tugboat - a Signac trademark). In counterpoint, the sails inflated by the wind and the curves of the hulls animate the composition with small dynamic circular rhythms. As for the divided color, laid down in rectangular touches charged with matter and energy, it defines the forms, translates the light, the atmosphere and the movements of this agitated meteorology: the sky is charged with clouds and rains pushed by the winds, the beaches of dark waters alternate with others more lightened by holes of sun, the wind inflates the sails and the fumes of the tugboat swirl. We can also admire the beach of moving water in the foreground, a vibrant and polychromatic checkerboard reminiscent of the contemporary dotted abstractions of a Kupka, even if for Signac (as he reminds us in his book The Subject in Painting), the abstraction of reality must remain within the limits of "decorative harmony. A small format Indian ink wash, identical in almost every respect, exists (private collection) and prepared the painted composition according to his personal method.For "Pilote de la Meuse", we can quote John Leighton's nice words in his introduction to the catalog of the Signac retrospective of 2001 (Paris, Amsterdam, New York): "In the best of his last works, Signac knew how to combine the sensual heritage of his first paintings with the cold rationality of Neo-Impressionism to create an art of an extraordinary chromatic richness and sensitivity". A DOCUMENTED PROVENANCE Few of the works entrusted to us have such a documented provenance. Indeed, we are fortunate to offer for sale with this masterpiece by Paul Signac an important correspondence between Edmond Sussfeld, Paul Signac and Léon Marseille. Nine typewritten notes from Edmond Sussfeld, three signed autograph letters from Signac, two signed autograph letters and the invoice from the dealer Léon Marseille shed light on the multiple steps that enabled the collector to acquire the painting. Sir, Being eager to acquire one of your works, I would be grateful if you could inform me if I could meet you at your studio next Saturday at 2:½ pm. I look forward to hearing from you, Sir, with my sincere regards. Edmond Sussfeld. Sir, I will certainly be pleased to receive you in my studio; but I must inform you that I have no paintings to sell, my paintings being held back by treaties to my dealers; I can only dispose of my watercolors. If in these conditions you persist in your kind intention, I would be grateful to you to advise me and I would wait for your visit next Saturday at 2:½ pm. Please accept, Sir, my sincere greetings. Paul Signac. Dear Sir, Thanking you for the cordiality of your welcome, I hasten to inform you that I passed by Marseille but that, to my regret, I could not find any of your paintings there. Nevertheless, I acquired a watercolor by Saint Pol which was sold to me under the number 3375 and for the price of 900 francs (all framed). I would be grateful if you could let me know, either directly