Felix Fénéon was an art dealer, collector, curator, political activist, critic, and friend of Signac who shared the artist's interests in science and Japanese prints. In this painting Signac depicts this unconventional and enigmatic personality with his characteristic goatee, holding a top hat and a walking stick in one hand and a flower in the other. Combining figuration and abstraction, he sets Fénéon's static profile against a swirling background—a kaleidoscopic depiction of optical theorist Charles Henry's recently published color wheel. A similar playfulness underlies the exceedingly long title, possibly a spoof on scientific terminology.
Gallery label from Cézanne to Picasso: Paintings from the David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection, July 17–August 31, 2009.