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Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat

(1859 - 1891)
Born: Paris, France
Style: Post-Impressionism
Famous Works:
  • Bathers at Asnières (1884)
  • Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-86)
  • Chahut (1889-90)
Georges Seurat led a priveledged life as a child in Paris, studying art from a young age and attending the prestigious Paris Academy's School of Fine Arts. By his early twenties, Seurat had moved into his own studio and completed his first major painted work, Bathers at Asnières. Monumental in size, and now considered one of Seurat's masterpieces, Bathers at Asnières was rejected by the Paris Salon, motivating Seurat to turn his back on the artistic establishment and align himself with the innovative, independent Parisian artists. The artist became very involved in the theory of color and representation, exploiting the power of colors and their complements to energize the canvas. Seurat was obsessed with the science of color, and believed that the naked eye would blend two dots of pure color naturally if they were placed next to each other. Instead of brushstrokes, Seurat placed dots of unmixed color onto the surface of the painting. Using these tiny dots of paint organized by color was called pointillism, or divisionism. This technique received overwhelming criticism and disapproval when first exhibited. Artists questioned at the notion of Seurat's using dots to depict the scene in his legendary painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Pointillism was radical to neither Seurat nor his friend Paul Signac, but a means to portray tone and color in a new light. The artist created numerous drawings and studies before embarking on a large canvas, as one would complete a scientific experiment. Despite his death at only thirty-two, Seurat's work is considered a precursor to commercial art, and the artist himself a vital influence on Post Impressionism.
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