The young Signac begins his painting career as an impressionist. That changes in 1884 when he meets Georges Seurat. He not only becomes a close friend, but is also deeply impressed by Seurat’s colour theories and pointillist painting technique.
Dots and smudges
The dining room is an early pointillist work by Signac. Here he avidly experiments with colour and the effects of complementary pairs of colours, mainly orange and blue.
Like his friend, he no longer mixes the colours on the palette, but places them side by side on the canvas in small dots and smudges. Seen from a distance, they give the colour effect that the painter intended.
In this painting, a woman and an older man sit at a table. A housemaid brings them the mail. The two women and the man are hardly people of flesh and blood. They seem rigid in their movement and wrapped up in themselves. The complete lack of interaction between the figures gives this ordinary, everyday scene an uncomfortable atmosphere.