Signatures 2.

The signatures of famous painters

Francis Picabia
Francis Picabia French Modern Artist

Today in our Magazine, for Signatures 2, we’re taking another look at the signatures of some famous and not-so-famous artists.


Old Master

If you haven’t already read “Signatures” I suggest you do so.

Signatures Henry Matisse
Henri Matisse French Modern Artist

The artists we’re considering today are again a diverse group, intersecting many eras and styles.

Signatures Fernand Léger
Fernand Léger French Modern Artist

Here, we’ll look at and compare the signatures of all sorts of artists: primitive painters, 16th-century, painters, the 1960s Fluxus group, and Impressionists.

Signatures René Magritte
René Magritte Modern Art

We’ll look at the signature of René Magritte,  as spare and clean as his art, next to an extremely elaborate signature, like in an illuminated manuscript, by a primitive artist whose name I don’t know.

Signatures Claude Monet
Claude Monet
French Impressionist Artist

We’ll look at Odilon Redon‘s signature, just as dreamlike and symbolic as his artistic style, alongside the rather less evocative signature of the artist Ben.

Odilon Redon
Odilon Redon Modern Dreamlike Artist

Ben’s bio reads, “Born in Naples in 1935 of an Occitan-Irish mother and Swiss-French father and, after living in various countries – Turkey, Egypt, Greece, and Switzerland – in 1949 he moved to Nice.”

Signatures Ben
Ben Contemporary French Artist

With a back story like that, you might expect him to have some sort of eclectic style, a mingling of genres and experiences.

But, no, not at all: Ben Vautier owes his success to paintings on which sentences appear the likes of “La mort est eternelle” [Death is eternal] and “L’art est inutile” [Art is useless].

Signatures Gaston Chaissac
Gaston Chaissac French Modern Artist

You’ll also see Gastone Chaissac‘s signature, which looks like that of a child, and then that of the Impressionist Alfred Sisley that verges on getting lost amidst the painting’s brush strokes.

Signatures Alfred Sisley
Alfred Sisley French Impressionist Artist

But you know that my true love is ancient art, so, needless to say, my favorites are that of Giovanni Battista da Conegliano, known as Cima and the one in the heading.

Signatures Cima da Conegliano
Cima da Conegliano
Italian Old Master

Open, unfurling like a scarf waving at a stadium, it reads “Joannes de Mansuetis faciebat”;

Joannes de Mansuetis. Who’s that?

The Treccani encyclopedia tells us: “Mansueti, Giovanni. – Year and place of birth uncertain.”

But what do we care? His signature is still a small masterpiece.

I chose the last signature out of curiosity: what looks like an ad for a famous clothing brand is actually that of an artist, a certain Edmond AmanJean, whose bio tells us that he was a “peintre figuratif, graveur et critique d’art” [figurative painter, engraver, and art critic] in the early 20th century.

Signatures Edmon Aman Jean
Signatures Edmon Aman Jean Modern Art

See you back next time for: Signatures 3