Rennes, September 25th 1870 – 1924, Paris
Second son of Paul Seignac, Guillaume is born in Rennes (West of France) where his family retreated with his four children during the 1870 war. His childhood in Ecouen, with his father and talented artists surrounding him, has probably influenced his choice to become an artist too.
He get his artistic training from three masters, the first one was Tony Robert-Fleury (1837-1911), the second one was Gabriel Ferrier (1847-1914), the last one, being the most influential, was William Bouguereau (1825-1905). This last one, at that time, was the best painter for human anatomy rendering. His production was numerous, as much as 822 units, and he was very well respected in the nineteen century art world.
Guillaume Seignac specialized himself into painting nudity, even if he was called an academic painter, he always gave priority to drawing vs. painting.
He had success very early and was one of the most famous painters of the “Belle Epoque” time. He exhibited at the Salon de Paris from 1897 to 1924, receiving several prices: an honorable mention in 1900 and a third class medal in 1903. In 1901, he joined the “Société des Artistes Français” (Society of the French Artists).
After being established 26 “rue de Fleurus” (Fleurus street) in Paris, he moved to Montparnasse, at that time very “in the mood” Parisian artistic area.
The market enjoyment for the academic art recessed when the impressionism one arrived. Later on, it has been called “art Pompier”. Guillaume Seignac went through this disgrace and kept the public attention, even today, specially in England and the US.
The American art critic, Janet Whitmore did a full study of the Guillaume Seignac art, talking about the influence of the “contraposto”, technique used by Michel Angelo (1475-1564) on the painting of the Rome Sixtine chapel ceiling. She concludes that for Guillaume Seignac, the position of the woman body in the space follows the norms established by Polyclene 450 years ago in his book “Canon of the proportions”. The same type of analyses can be done for the draperies and transparent veils. The Guillaume Seignac paintings are liked and they take care of his excellent fundamental academic training.
If Guillaume Seignac painted a lot of nude and veiled women, he, from time to time, diversified his work like this surprising “Jésus au milieu des Docteurs” (Jesus meeting Doctors). During the 1914-1918 World War One, he has drawn a poster for the army fun raising. At the end of the war, in 1918, celebrating the vistory, he did an other poster showing an Alsatian young lady shouting “At last !”.
More surprising, in 1890, a bookstore sold play cubes decorated with six printings showing models, two from Guillaume Seignac and two from Ridgway Knight, friend of Mary Cassatt.
In 1906, Guillaume Seignac gave to the village of Ecouen his painting named “La muse” and, in 1922, a plaster statue showing the portrait of Pierre Edouard Frere.
For further information, please read the book “L’Ecole d’Ecouen, une colonie de peintres au XIXéme siècle”, unfortunately only available in French for the time being (but we are working on it).