Lot 77
  • 77

Paul Signac

3,000,000 - 4,000,000 USD
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  • Paul Signac
  • Le Pont de LĂ©zardrieux
  • Signed P. Signac and dated 1925 (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 28 3/4 by 36 1/2 in.
  • 73 by 92.7 cm


Charles Vildrac, Paris

Gaston Lévy, Paris (by November 1927)

Private Collection

Sale: Christie's, London, December 6, 1974, lot 289

Private Collection, France

Galerie Nomad, London (acquired by 1976)

Sale: Sotheby's, London, April 5, 1978, lot 7A

 Ansary Hushang, New York (sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 5, 1981, lot 253)

Private Collection, Düsseldorf (sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 15, 1984, lot 69)

Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman


Berlin & Frankfurt, Galerie Goldschmidt, Paul Signac, Sonderausstellung, 1927, no. 9

Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, International Exhibition, 1929, no. 177


Françoise Cachin, Signac, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 2000, no. 567, illustrated p. 323


Please contact the Impressionist and Modern Art Department at (212) 606-7360 for the condition report for this lot.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Signac's enduring passion was the depiction of water, as the pointillist style was perfectly suited to the ever-changing colors and light conditions of this subject. In Le Pont de Lézardrieux the rapid application of impasto paint captures the glistening surface of the Seine. In his mature works Signac had developed his mastery of the pointillist technique so that his dabs of paint had become larger than the more tightly spaced dots of his earlier compositions. The style had been pioneered by Georges Seurat, in paintings such as Le Pont de Courbevoie, but through Signac became a highly expressive technique. The overall chromatic impact of these pictures was like that of a tiled mosaic, and the individualized color patches held an expressiveness and freedom that characterized many of the artist's most accomplished works. "The painter, starting from the contrast of two colors, opposes, modifies and balances these elements on either side of the boundary between them", Signac explained, "until he meets another contrast and starts the process over again; so, working from contrast to contrast, he covers his canvas" (P. Signac, D'Eugene Delacroix au Neo-Impressionnisme, Paris, 1899, p. 122). 

Le Pont de Lézardrieux depicts one of Signac's favourite subjects: the Bridges of Paris. Marina Ferretti-Bocquillon wrote that "the artist liked to frame his views of ports and rivers with solid architectural elements, opposing the motion of the sea, sky and reflections with the stable forms of a wharf, lighthouse or tower. The artist first depicted a bridge in the early years of Neo-Impressionism. [...] From then on, Signac regularly painted the Bridges of Paris, choosing both older and more up-to-date constructions" (M. Ferretti-Bocquillon in Signac 1863-1935 (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2001, pp. 273-74). The present work is a remarkably rich composition, featuring numerous landmarks on the Île de la Cité: Notre-Dame's twin towers compete with the elegant spire of Saint-Chappelle at the very center of the background. The Pont des Arts provides a compositional divide that simultaneously draws the viewer into the scene.

By the time the present work was painted, Signac had gained international admiration and prestige. He was elected as the representative of French artists to the Berlin Secession in 1925 and leader of the Salon des Indépendants in Paris. The mature paintings, of which the present work is amongst the finest, depict increasingly ambitious compositions. Discussing the importance of Signac's mature works, John Leighton writes: "The late works of Signac are the culmination of many years of reflection, theorizing, and practice. [...] In the best of his later works Signac combined the sensual legacy of his first pictures with the cool rationality of Neo-Impressionism to create an art of extraordinary chromatic richness and feeling. The intensity that he brought to all aspects of his craft remained consistent" (J. Leighton in Signac 1863-1935, ibid., p. 20).