Thursday, September 7, 2017

In the Beginning: Georges Seurat

Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859-1891) was a founder of the color-dot technique of Pointillism and is best known for his paintings in that style. As this mentions, he had a few years of formal art training before his military service, and then went on to his brief career as a painter.

Also mentioned is that Seurat did a good deal of preparation before making his large, Pointillist paintings -- understandable, given their subject matter, composition and coloring. Part of this preparation involved smaller studies. And before that phase of his career he did paint many small works that had an impressionist feeling.


Un dimanche après-midi à l'île de la Grande Jatte - 1884-86
This is the painting Seurat is most famous for.

Head of a Girl - 1879
Here is the earliest Seurat that I could locate. Done while attending the École des Beaux-Arts.

Sunset - c. 1881
An early post-Army painting. Wispy and not nearly as solidly conceived as most of this later works, but at this point, he was probably just experimenting with Impressionist ideas.

Banlieue - 1881-82
A mix of a few well-defined and ill-defined forms. Brushwork is nondescript.

Landscape in the Ile-de-France - 1882
Brush strokes here are more obvious.

Fishing in the Seine - 1883
Stronger brushwork for the riverbank, similar to what is found in the following images.

Man Painting a Boat - c. 1883
A good deal of hatching brushwork in the vegetation.

The Stone Breakers, Le Raincy (c. 1882)
I found this at the Norton Simon in Pasadena. It's a small study (compare its size to the information plaque). The museum's web site deals with it here.

Detail photo. Again we see short, strong brush strokes at different angles. An exception is the human figures who are rendered in a different manner. Note that on the stone pile, Seurat was careful to paint thick-over-thin, a concept he surely learned at the Beaux-Arts if not before. Click on the image to enlarge.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Thanks for the post on Seurat - he was also a master of value. His charcoal and conte drawings are well worth studying for anyone who is serious about learning classical painting techniques.