Paris in the Days of Post-Impressionism:
Signac and the Indépendants

On view as soon as the Museum reopens

The MMFA will transport you to 19th and 20th century Paris in the company of the great Post-Impressionist masters. Paris, 1900: a revolution was underway during the Belle Époque. “Art for all!” declared artists who exhibited under the motto “no jury, no awards.” Cofounder of the Salon des Indépendants, Paul Signac (1863-1935) made a name for himself as the theoretician of the so-called “postimpressionist scientists.” He applied pure colour to the canvas in tightly placed dots, such that the form would emerge from the optical blending in the viewer’s eye. He sought to create an all-encompassing art, somewhere between the paradise lost of the golden age and social utopia. Signac championed positivist painting, which promoted technical and political modernity. The new pointillist style of his “Neo” peers spread like wildfire from Paris to Brussels, glorifying the better days to come. Moreover, according to the writings of such critics as Fénéon, Signac positioned himself as an engaged intellectual in the era of the Dreyfus affair.

Discover a magnificent body of 500 paintings and graphic works from an exceptional private collection to be exhibited in its entirety for the first time – the largest collection of works by Paul Signac, but also of avant-garde: Impressionists (Monet and Morisot), Fauves (Dufy, Friesz and Marquet), Symbolists (Gauguin, Mucha and Redon), Nabis (Bonnard, Denis, Lacombe, Sérusier, Ranson and Vallotton), Neo-Impressionists (Cross, Guillaumin, Luce, Pissarro, Seurat and Van Rysselberghe) and observers of life in Paris (Anquetin, Degas, Lautrec, Picasso and Steinlen).

These works – or masterpieces – date from the first Salon des Indépendants in 1884. Nearly a hundred creations by Signac will deepen our knowledge of the artist’s quest for social and aesthetic harmony, and of other movements born in the upheavals of the period, including Symbolism, Nabism, Fauvism and Cubism.

Credits and Curatorial team

An exhibition organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA, the exhibition is curated by Gilles Genty, Guest Curator, and Mary-Dailey Desmarais, Curator of International Modern and Contemporary Art, MMFA. A presentation of Hydro-Québec, in collaboration with Tourisme Montréal. Official Partner: MMFA Angel Circle.