Tuesday, November 23, 2010

ABC Wednesday and Artist of the Week - Georges Seurat

S is for Seurat

(2 December 1859 – 29 March 1891)

 French Neo-Impressionist; founder of the Pointillism school (also known as "Divisionism")

George Seurat, quiet and intense, had been classically trained at the École des Beaux-Arts. He was attracted to the Impressionists, with their different approach to art. His feeling that Impressionism lacked discipline (combined with study of scientific writings on color theory) led him to create a new style: pointillism. In this, tiny, detached brushstrokes (dots, really) of pure color are placed closely to one another on the canvas. Together they create a shining, harmonious whole composition.

“Some say they see poetry in my paintings; I see only science.”

Un Dimanche d’été à l’Île de la Grande Jatte 
(his most famous work) 
Seurat spent over two years painting A Sunday Afternoon, focusing meticulously on the landscape of the park. He reworked the original as well as completed numerous preliminary drawings and oil sketches. He would go and sit in the park and make numerous sketches of the various figures in order to perfect their form. He concentrated on the issues of colour, light, and form. The painting is approximately 2 by 3 meters (6 ft 10 in x 10 ft 1 in) in size.  Read more about this painting here.

Un Dimanche d’été à l’Île de la Grande Jatte

Bathing at Asnieres

The Siene at la Grande Jatte 

 La Siene a Courbevoie
c. 1885-86

“Under a blazing mid-afternoon summer sky, we see the Seine flooded with sunshine . . . people are strolling, others are sitting or stretched out lazily on the bluish grass.”  ~ Georges Seurat

 Pierrot with a White Pipe. (Aman-Jean) 
“Originality depends only on the character of the drawing and the vision peculiar to each artist.”

 The Channel of Gravelines, the Direction to the Sea

Young Woman Powdering Herself
c. 1888-1890.
 Invitation to the Sideshow (La Parade de Cirque). 


  1. Great post as always, Gina. I was not that familiar with Seurat, so I really enjoyed learning more and seeing more of his work. Always a great post for the day! Hope your week is going well. Happy Thanksgiving!


  2. Ah, the pointillists, the inventors of the pixel! :-)

    More seriously, beautiful pictures - thanks Sphinx!

  3. Jams and Sylvia - glad you enjoyed!

    Francis: you're right! :-) And thank YOU!

  4. Very intereSting poSt and Splendid paintingS!
    ThankS for Sharing;o)

    Sweet SWedneSday****

  5. This is informative AND lovely.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  6. He is one of my favorites and you have done a great job of sharing with us. Thank you.

  7. I didn't know he died so young, how luck we are that we have this number of paintings.

  8. i have always loved this painter but never have i understood how anyone could paint this way, being a paint-flinger myself ;) ... thanks for the great collection of his world(as always, love how you do this with artists, i learn so much from these posts!) and have a great day tomorrow without too much work either-that's an order and someday, write and tell me how you are. xoxoxoxox

  9. Excellent choice of his paintings. His work is magnificent.

  10. I didn't know there was a style of painting in dots! When I was little I used to do pictures like this! Thanks for sharing

  11. I've always liked Seurat's work, but I can't say it excites me. That is, perhaps, how he himself would have wanted it, since he felt it was more science than art. It's fascinating, and the ideas behind it are lovely, and carried out in the finest degree by Seurat, out of the small group of painters practicing this method. Computers and modern printing, of course, took his concepts to another level entirely...

    It is a bit like seeing a movie star in person to encounter this painting in the Art Institute in Chicago. It's one of several in the museum which are behind protective glass (Grant Wood's "American Gothic" is another, along with one or two Van Gogh's, including one of his self portraits). I believe it is the most requested destination in the museum (the front desk is asked about it more than any other piece there).

    I fell more in love with this piece as a result of seing the Sondheim musical, "Sunday in the Park with George," where Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters embodied the painter, his mistress, and that time in French art history. Several numbers in the first act also provide a realistic glimpse into the interior of the artist, and the unique distance that can be placed between an artist and the rest of the world. The Thomas Mann story "Tonio Kroger" also talks at length about the artist looking at the world through a window (Sondheim may have gotten the image from that story). It can be a lot like that. Stuck inside, unable to go out and join everyone else. Unable to turn off the artist view or the author's voice, illustrating or narrating your life and everyone else's.


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