Lot 13
  • 13

PAUL SIGNAC | Quai de Clichy. Temps gris

600,000 - 800,000 GBP
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  • Paul Signac
  • Quai de Clichy. Temps gris
  • inscribed Op. 156 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 46 by 65.5cm.
  • 18 1/8 by 25 3/4 in.
  • Painted in 1887.


Marié, Malmaison (exchanged with the artist for a bicycle) Delaporte, Malmaison

Félix Fénéon, Paris (acquired by 1925)

Georges Bernheim, Paris

Gaston Lévy, Paris (acquired in April 1927)

Lotté, Paris

Raphaël Gerard (acquired on 24th August 1943; inventory D 3233)

A. de la Chapelle, Paris (acquired for 85.000 FFR, probably through Galerie Bénézit)

Hildebrand Gurlitt, Paris & Aschbach (by December 1947 and probably from 1943)

Cornelius Gurlitt, Munich (by descent from the above)

Restituted by the estate of the above to the heirs of Gaston Lévy in July 2019


Brussels, 5ème Exposition des XX, 1888, no. 3 Paris, Pavillon de la Ville de Paris, 4ème Exposition de la Société des Artistes Indépendants, 1888, no. 623

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paul Signac, 1930, no. 5, illustrated in the catalogue 

Paris, Petit-Palais, Paul Signac, 1934, no. 6

Düsseldorf, Kunstverein, Paul Signac, 1952, no. 8

Essen, Museum Folkwang, Werke der französischen Malerei und Grafik des 19. Jahrhunderts, 1954, no. 100


The artist's handlist (Cahier d'opus), 1887-1902, no. 156, listed as Quai de Clichy. Temps gris Félix Fénéon, 'Le Néo-impressionnisme aux Indépendants', in L'Art Moderne, 15th April 1888, pp. 121-123

Rodolphe Darzens, 'L'Exposition des Indépendants', in La Revue moderne, vol. I, 10th May 1888, p. 445

The artist's handlist (Cahier manuscrit), 1902-1909, listed as Quai de Clichy. Temps gris

Gaston Lévy, Pré-cataloguecirca 1929-32, illustrated p. 154

Raymond Escholier, 'Les Arts. Triple exposition au Petit-Palais, Odilon Redon, Chaplet, Paul Signac', in Le Journal, 26th February 1934, illustrated (titled Banlieue)

Claude Roger-Marx, Le Paysage français de Corot à nos jours, Paris, 1952, illustrated between pp. 80 & 81 (titled L'écluse)

Félix Fénéon, 'Les néo-impressionnistes', in Françoise Cachin (ed.), Félix Fénéon: Au-delà de l'impressionnisme, Paris, 1966, mentioned p. 100

Van Gogh à Paris (exhibition catalogue), Musée d'Orsay, Paris, 1988, fig. a, illustrated p. 298

Françoise Cachin, Signac. Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, Paris, 2000, no. 142, illustrated p. 180 (catalogued as signed P. Signac and dated 87, lower left)

Signac (exhibition catalogue), Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris; The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam & The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2001, fig. 80, illustrated p. 129

Gurlitt: Status Report 'Degenerate Art' - Confiscated and Sold (exhibition catalogue), Kunstmuseum, Bern & Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, 2017-18, no. 274, illustrated p. 304

Catalogue Note

Painted in the spring of 1887, Quai de Clichy. Temps gris shows Signac at the height of his pointillist style and dates from the key moment not only in Signac’s art, but also in the development of the Neo-Impressionist movement. By the early months of 1886 Georges Seurat finished his now celebrated painting Un Dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte, which caused a sensation when exhibited at the Eighth (and final) Impressionist Exhibition in May 1886. Signac and Pissarro were quick to adopt the new style of painting, with Signac completing some of his earliest pointillist canvases in the area of Clichy. It was also in 1886 that the term ‘Neo-Impressionism’ was first used in an article written by the critic Félix Fénéon. It was this revolutionary chain of events that set the stage for Signac’s works executed in 1887. In the spring of that year he painted Quai de Clichy. Temps gris and a closely related composition Quai de Clichy. Soleil, now in the Baltimore Museum of Art (fig. 1). Running along the rives Seine, the Quai de Clichy is situated in the suburb of Asnières, to the northwest of Paris, where Signac’s family moved in 1880. The varied landscape of the region – comprising both the river and factory chimneys – would provide a great source of inspiration to the young artist who was a keen sailor, and at the same time enthusiastic about science and innovation. In 1887, the year he painted the present work, Signac was joined in his painting expeditions around Clichy and Asnières by Van Gogh, who had arrived from Paris the previous year. Van Gogh’s Les Ponts d’Asnières (fig. 2) depicts two bridges across the Seine, as seen just further up the Quai de Clichy.

Discussing the present oil and its sister-composition at the Baltimore Museum, painted shortly afterwards, Marina Feretti-Bocquillon wrote: ‘For the first, Signac set up his easel downstream from the gas plant, facing the pont d’Asnières. The gas tanks are set back from the wharf and are therefore not visible, but we can make out the plant’s coal cranes, which can also be seen in a number of other paintings by Signac and Emile Bernard. The wharf, cranes, smoke-stack, and barge all underscore the industrial character of the site. […] in the second version, Signac turned downstream toward the pont de Clichy. […] The insubstantial trees, some protected by metalwork, show that the quai de Clichy was still very new. Everything has been exactly observed, and each element conforms to the aerial photograph taken by Commander Fribourg’ (M. Feretti-Bocquillon in Signac (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., 2001, p. 128). Combining the artist's keen observation of the riverscape with the budding pointilliste technique, Quai de Clichy. Temps gris bears testament to a pivotal moment in the development of Neo-Impressionism.

Along the Seine: Post-Impressionism at Asnières, to be held at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam in the Autumn 2023.