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A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat
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Artist: Georges Seurat    Image Code: V03760

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  • Artist: Georges Seurat

    Georges Seurat (December 2, 1859-March 29, 1891) is credited with the pioneering of the pointillist technique of painting, in which the artist applies pure, distinct dots of color to the canvas in order to create an image, rather than painting in broad brushstrokes. A member of the French school of Post-Impressionism, Seurat’s large canvasses are now iconic for their dotted composition, which was criticized and ridiculed in his time. Studying in Paris at the renowned Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Seurat went on to form the Societé des Artists Indépendants along with contemporaries such as Paul Signac. Despite his early death, Seurat contributed greatly to modern color theory and its application in the artistic process. With his paintings hanging in institutions such as London’s National Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Seurat’s singular technique and composition have earned him a permanent place in the art historical canon. 

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  • Artwork Details

    Begun in 1884 and finally debuting at the 1886 Impressionist exhibition in Paris, Georges Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte is the most well-known example of Pointillism, a technique developed largely by Seurat in which pure, distinct dots of color are applied to the canvas to make up an image, as opposed to traditional brushstrokes. Its meticulous composition is particularly impressive in light of its massive scale: the painting measures approximately 7 by 10 feet. At the time of the painting's creation, Seurat was deeply engrossed in a study of color theory and optics, and thus paid great attention to how different dots of color formed to create the impression of a single hue to the human eye. Depicting a melange of people from different social classes and walks of life in the park on the small island of La Grande Jatte, Seurat presents a picture of modern Parisian life and moments of leisure. Currently residing at the Art Institute of Chicago, A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte has become one of the most iconic images of nineteenth-century French painting.