Les Andelys, the Washerwomen

1886, Paul Signac

On loan from a private collection, © Private collection. Used by permission
In 1886, involved with hanging an exhibition in Paris, Signac decided to spend his summer holidays close to the city. He went to Les Andelys, a village near Rouen on the banks of the Seine. It was in this quiet location that he made his first works in a neo-Impressionist style.

Inspired by the technique that his friend Georges Seurat had developed, Signac applied individual spots of paint to the canvas to describe the river and the women at work. These touches of colour unite the various parts of his highly geometric composition. Similar tones appear in the water and riverbank alike.

As one contemporary critic commented, just as the river runs in Signac's works from Les Andelys, the sky and the greenery seem to 'flow'. The scene is bright and animated; it marks a decisive moment in his artistic career.

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