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Signature Style

On a recent visit to San Francisco, I was lucky enough to spend a day at the Legion Of Honor Museum's exhibit of

Degas seems to sign his paintings with a tiny script, usually in burnt sienna/orange shade and no matter how large or small the canvas, his signature seems to be the same size.  Mary Cassatt's signature is bold and large and of different colors and different sizes depending on the subject matter and canvas size.  Degas' signature is tiny in comparison.  I tend to be bold with my signatures and notice that many women artists do the same whilst men seem to be more discreet with their signatures.  I suppose this could be an awesome art thesis comparing signatures of artist's depending on their gender.  The museum exhibit fascinated me on so many levels but what has stayed with me was the subtlety of Degas and the extreme drama of Mary Cassatt's signature. 

I now notice how my signature is pushing for attention in many of my paintings and I can't say that I find that attractive.

Do you find signatures distractive in paintings or flattering?  If so, who, why and how?


  • I would say readable but discreet.

    If I notice the signature at all on first viewing, then I think it is insufficiently discreet, and it has already distracted me.
  • edited August 14
    I'm all for the painting being the main event. Some artists obviously put a lot of thought and practice into their signatures and have an aesthetically pleasing signature without it detracting from the painting eg David Cheifetz- readable, discrete and stylish.

  • Make one that's easy and quick, easily legible, does not distract. Strive for a natural appearance in it.
  • I like signatures to be discrete and well placed. I don't like them to compete with the work for attention. I also like them to be consistent across the artist's body of work so that it is instantly recognizable. Some artists' signatures are beautiful in themselves. But @tassieguy already said that didn't he?
  • It took me a long time just to be comfortable calling myself an artist. I've never signed a painting.  I hope to one day.
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