After visiting Marseilles in late 1905, Paul Signac proceeded to paint two canvases in his studio: one showing the entrance to the port, and this view, facing the hill surmounted by Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the church nicknamed the Good Mother by seamen. Bright and boldly colored, the composition reflects Signac’s contact with the artists Henri-Edmond Cross and Matisse at Saint Tropez in the summer of 1904. The rectangular strokes of unmixed pigment, arranged like tesserae (an individual tile, usually formed in the shape of a cube) in a mosaic, are Signac’s variation on the innovative painting method pioneered by Georges Seurat.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Matisse painted this oil sketch in the summer of 1904, while working alongside fellow artist Paul Signac on the French Riviera, and he completed the final painting (now at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris) the following winter.
Both Signac and Matisse were influenced by the elder painter Paul Cézanne, whose discrete strokes of color emphasized the materiality of the painted surface over naturalistic illusion. But Matisse went further, using a palette of pure, high-pitched colors (blue, green, yellow, and orange) to render the landscape, and outlining the figures in blue. The painting takes its title from a line by the nineteenth-century poet Charles Baudelaire and shares the poems subject of an escape to an imaginary, tranquil refuge.
Study for Luxe, Calme et Volupté (Luxury, Calm and Pleasure) is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.