The van Gogh Museum has revealed that it purchased Paul Signac’s Ponton de la Felicité during Christie’s recent Impressionist and Modern Evening sale in New York last month.
The work was bid upon by private dealer David Norman and sold comfortably between the estimates for $2.88m and will be on view in Amsterdam starting Thursday:
Signac depicted the banks of the River Seine at Asnières in fresh complementary colours in the then ground-breaking pointillist technique. Georges Seurat was the originator of this innovative method of painting, whereby an image is built up of individual dots and lines applied in unmixed, contrasting colours. Various Neo-Impressionist painters, including Signac, followed Seurat in mastering this technique.
Vincent van Gogh, who lived in Paris between 1886 and 1888, would have seen this work at the 1887 Salon des Indépendants, then the most important exhibition of modern art in general and Neo-Impressionism in particular. Van Gogh and Signac both painted frequently in Asnières, a town on the outskirts of Paris. The purchase of this work by an influential contemporary of Van Gogh has enhanced the museum’s collection and its ability to show the context in which Van Gogh developed as a painter. Starting on 22 December, this new acquisition will be on display in the permanent collection on the first floor of the Rietveld Building.