Oil on panel
16 x 12 3/4 inches (40.6 x 32.4 cm)
The Estate of Westmore and Esther Wilcox, New York,
New York & Charlottesville, Virginia
Paul Seignac was born in Bordeaux, France on February 12,1826. In Paris, Seignac became a pupil of Edouard Picot (1786-1868), a history painter who executed several commissions in churches in Paris. In a departure from his training, Seignac chose to pursue his interest in genre paintings, specializing in the depiction of children and rural life. Popular throughout Europe in the nineteenth century, genre paintings of children helped establish the careers of many artists, especially in France and in England.
Many of Seignac’s works show children in endearing roles, sometimes mischievous, sometimes in innocent play. Several of the paintings depict a pair of children helping one another complete some type of household chore.
Seignac also painted outdoor scenes set in country villages, depicting charming scenes of everyday life. These works show the beginnings of social realism, the sort practiced by Jules Bastien Lepage (1848-1884) and Jean Francois Millet (1814-1875), whose works enjoyed popularity in the latter half of the century. Seignac exhibited at the Paris Salon, making his debut in 1849, and receiving an honorable mention in 1889. His works have always been popular with collectors in France, (he was represented by Galerie des Artistes Moderne in Paris in his lifetime), England, and the United States. His paintings of children are often commercially reproduced. Seignac’s works can be found in museums in Ajaccio, Corsica, and Reims.
Our painting, Tying Her Shoes, is characteristic of Seignac’s best genre works. Two children, after gathering bundles of wheat, pause on a shady pathway as one ties her shoes. The child in front waits patiently. The viewer’s attention moves from one child to another and throughout the dappled, sunlit scene. Painting with strokes suggestive of the Impressionists, Seignac develops the painting as a study of light. With brisk strokes of white giving way to dabs of pink in the foreground, Seignac evokes an atmosphere of serenity.