Musée d'Orsay: Paul Signac Erik Satie

Paul Signac
Erik Satie

Erik Satie
Paul Signac (1863-1935)
Erik Satie
Circa 1890
Conté pencil on paper
H. 31; W. 24 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Michèle Bellot

Erik Satie

This drawing remained in the artist's family until it entered the Musée d'Orsay collections in 1996. It is part of a fine collection of portraits drawn around 1890 by the young "neo" painters: portraits of Signac by Seurat, a portrait of Seurat by Luce, Signac's painting of Luce reading La Révolte, etc. They were thus essentially portraits of friends - companions in the artistic struggle.
Little is known about the links between Signac and Satie, and their brief friendship was only as young men. They happened to meet in Montmartre at the famous Cabaret du Chat Noir where Satie was employed as conductor in the mid 1880s. At this time, Signac was a regular visitor to the establishment. It was probably artistic anti-conformism that brought together the skilful, young, neo-Impressionist painter and the brilliant composer of the Gymnopédies. But later, the Rosicrucian involvement of "Esoterik Satie", his anti-Wagnerism, and even more his anti-Impressionism must have distanced him from the young painter, who delighted in naming his first boat Manet-Zola-Wagner!

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