Comblat-le-Château, the Meadow (Le Pré), Opus 161
Paul Signac ( French, 1863 - 1935 )
- June–July 1887
A meadow dotted with trees is separated from a rustic house by a low fence. A sweeping view of a valley fills the distance. The subtle gradations of the sky impart a strong sense of atmosphere to the open landscape. This painting represents the small town of Comblat-le-Château in the Auvergne, in south-central France. Paul Signac described it in a letter as "a fairy-tale valley enclosed between splendid mountains." He spent about six weeks there in the summer of 1887, working outdoors, and made a series of five canvases of Comblat, as well as several oil sketches. Signac painted the valley of Comblat during the first crucial years of the neo-impressionist movement. He was working at that time directly under the influence of Georges Seurat and had enthusiastically adopted his laborious and exacting pointillist technique, painting small dots of pure, unmixed color side by side on the canvas and allowing these pure points of color to blend in the eye of the viewer, rather than on the painter's palette.
Heather MacDonald, DMA label copy, 2010.