[Seurat (Georges)] Signac (Paul)

Lot 35
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6000 - 12000 EUR
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Result : 7 670EUR
[Seurat (Georges)] Signac (Paul)
Correspondence to Gustave Kahn announcing the death of Georges Seurat on March 29, 1891. One monogrammed bill and three autograph letters signed, various formats (9 pages). Devauchelle folder. Extraordinary document, unpublished correspondence from Paul Signac to Gustave Kahn on the day of Georges Seurat's death and the following days, associating the two founders of Neo-Impressionism and one of its most fervent - and rare - supporters. The bill (22 x 13.5 cm) hastily scribbled on poor paper, immediately folded in four, even before the ink had dried (hence the ink discharges) simply dated: "Sunday evening. My dear friend - Our poor Seurat just died this morning. Please tell our good friends. Yours faithfully P-S. Best wishes to Madame. Georges Seurat died on March 29, 1891, at the age of 31. On the previous Thursday, as he did every Thursday, he had dined at his mother's on boulevard Magenta, and then, feeling ill, had agreed to spend the night with her. The following day, Friday, he returned to work in his studio - the painter Georges Lemmen had seen him there. Signac came to see him in the evening. The night that followed was terrible. Blood loss, delirium. In the early hours of the morning, frightened and distraught, his companion Madeleine Knobloch took him back to his mother's, taking their thirteen-month-old baby with them. It was on this occasion that Madame Seurat discovered that her son Georges also had a small family - even the painter's most loyal friends were unaware of this. He died at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning. At the time of these letters, Gustave Kahn was in Belgium. He had been close to Seurat since the Mondays at Robert Caze where they met, since La Vogue, which Kahn directed in 1886, and since the teas at Signac's on avenue de Clichy, in Daubigny's former studio, where painters, poets and writers sipped and chatted on Sundays. Thanks to his wife's money, Kahn was able to buy one of only two paintings ever sold by the painter (and even then, settled post-mortem), Le Chahut. After fearing for their friend's work - a few drawings ended up at the flea market - Signac, Fénéon and Maximilien Luce took charge of classifying Seurat's drawings, and it was Kahn who signed the presentation for the two-volume edition published by Galerie Bernheim in 1928. The following letter (2 pages in-12), soberly dated "Monday morning" [March 30, 1891], was also hastily written and contains a number of cross-outs: "As I wrote to you last night, our poor Seurat is dead, from an infectious sore throat they say. He leaves a poor wife and a beautiful 13-month-old baby he recognized. The poor thing is still pregnant. If you haven't given Seurat the money for the Chahut, you have to make sure you give it to this woman and not to the family. What can I do? I rely on Madame Kahn's good heart to relieve this poor, destitute, distraught woman. For my part, I'll do whatever it takes. I am overwhelmed by this horrible misfortune and do not know what to do [...]". The next letter (3 pages in-12), still undated (April 1, 1891), was written the day after Seurat's funeral (March 31): "[...] There is now talk of a brain effusion! Our poor great was killed by work; he spent his nights until 2 and 3 a.m. making his frames. As far as the family is concerned, I think we'll be better off than we thought [...] A millionaire brother-in-law had come to this woman's house, investigating, arrogant, cruel, and had left fifteen francs (15 francs)! We were appalled! But yesterday - after the funeral - the brother came and told the woman that we were leaving her everything in the studio: furniture and paintings... that the family would buy two... and that she shouldn't worry about her child, that the grandmother would take care of it. [...] Luce and I think we should try to sell the seascapes and give the money to this woman? But what about the large canvases? I think it's dangerous to leave them in her hands. She might be tempted to get rid of them at a low price [...]". The last letter (4 pages in-12), more thoughtful, long and detailed, goes into the details of the arrangements. Madeleine Knobloch is no longer pregnant after all: "[...] her milk, dried up by the pain, could have given rise to fears of this new complication [...] I advised the family not to sell at the Hôtel; to try, in order to give the wife some money, to sell some of the marines, and to keep the rest at home. (I think it would be even safer to leave them with the family until the next exhibitions, when they will need to be shown and promoted). At least that's my opinion. Is it yours? We'll decide with Fénéon and Luce what to do.
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