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A look into the life of Georges Seurat!

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By:Erica Powell

Art History Honors

Georges Seurat 

Georges Seurat was a 19th century painter born on December 2nd, 1859 in Paris, France. He was the son of Antoine-Chrysostome Seurat, who was a customs official, and Ernestine Seurat. Georges grew up with his brother, Emile, and sister, Marie-Berthe. Georges's art education started with his uncle giving him lessons until 1875 when he attended the local art school under Justin Lequien. In 1878, Georges attended the École des Beaux-Arts school in Paris under Henri Lehmann. In 1879, Seurat went to an Impressionist Exhibition which included Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro where he was influenced by their works of art. As a result of this, he became interested in researching art and reading about the perspective and color theory. Georges had a wife, Madeleine Knobloch and a son, Pierre-Georges Seurat. Georges Seurat died on March 29th, 1891 in Paris from an illness and was joined a month later by his son.


Seurat was fond of the large-scale paintings by Puvis de Chavannes but he really figured out what kind of painter he was when he attended the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition in 1879. There he witnessed the works of Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro. The way they conveyed light in their paintings really made Georges think about his own art. Georges started researching all about form and color theory. Two books that especially inspired Georges were Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors, written by chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul, and Essay on the Unmistakable Signs of Art, by Humbert de Superville. Georges then developed his own style of painting called Pointilism. Pointilism is the placement of dots on a canvas next to each other which from a distance, give the appearance that the artist actualy blended the colors. Seurat's paintings influenced symbolist artists and even the famous Vincent van Gogh. In more modern times, Seurat's most famous painting, "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte," appeared in the movie, Ferris Buller's Day Off, directed by John Hughes. 

The Beginning of Pointilism

Title: A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

Date: 1884-1886


Title: The Models

Date: 1887-1888

Most Important Works

Title: Bathers at Asinieres

Date: 1884

Title: Circus Sideshow

Date: 1887-1888

Most Important Works continued...

Title: Le Chahut

Date: 1889-1890

Ttitle: The Channel at Gravelines Petit Fort Philippe

Date: 1890

Seurat gained inspiration for his paintings later in life from the streets of Paris, cabarets, nightclubs, and parks. One such painting is La Chahut painted in 1890. The painting depicts four people dancing on a stage with a band playing in the immediate foreground. The dancers are obviously in the midst of a dance as each has one leg up in the air and the conductor of the band has his baton in the air. The composition of the painting shows all the dancers with their legs in sync almost as if they're acting as one. The curves of the woman dancer's smile match the man's mustache dancing behind her which also adds to the theme of uniformity. The main colors of the painting are orange and brown and the scene has low lighting.  

Favorite Painting #1 

I really like The Channel of Gravelines, Petit Fort Philippe by Seurat because I've always been a fan of landscape type paintings. The painting depicts a harbor in France. The painting seems to convey a message of stillness as all the boats seem to be anchored and there are no people about. To make the colors brighter, Seurat painted the border full of darker dots to contrast the lighter colors of the painting. The dots making up the sky are not as tightly packed so as to let in the haziness of the clouds in the sky. Seurat makes the picture seem very deep and go on for forever because of how he bends the wharf around the right side of the picture. 

Favorite Painting #2 Editors. "Georges Seurat Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.


"La Chahut." Artble. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.


"The Channel of Gravelines, Petit Fort Philippe." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy this picture I found on the internet. :)