(1859 - 1891)
Georges Seurat was active/lived in France. Georges Seurat is known for neo impressionist painting-figure and landscape.
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Biography from the Archives of askART
Parisian born, Georges Seurat was a late 19th-century modernist painter
who was as interested in science as he was in painting. In many
art history books, he is credited as being the innovator of
Pointillism. However, his methods were complicated enough that
Pointillism is only partially descriptive of his accomplishments, and
the more accurate description is "founder of the 19th-century French
school of Neo-Impressionism. Using this technique, he created
huge compositions with tiny, detached strokes of pure colour too small
to be distinguished when looking at the entire work but making his
paintings shimmer with brilliance." (WebMuseum)
Biography from Modern Art Dealers
Gaining scientific knowledge, he experimented with styles and "developed
a specific color wheel based on the fragmentation of light and limited
himself to the colors of the spectrum, working out careful compositions
that fused design and color." (barewalls) Because it is an
expansion of Pointillism, many scholars define his style as Divisionism
or Neo Impressionism. Pointillism implies rounded dots, and many
of his markings deviated from that as they were squares, triangles and
irregular shapes. This method was also much more time consuming
and complicated than the capturing of the 'fleeting moment' in one
painting session of the Impressionists. But like the
Impressionists, Divisionism advanced ways of painting directly from the
tube onto the canvas.
Seurat studied painting with Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, having previously
worked with sculpture. His formal training was academic and
included much copying of Old Masters. He studied art theory on
his own, and became much interested in the interplay between light and
color. He did not accept the underlying concepts of Impressionism
as espoused by Monet and his followers, and between 1880 and 1882, he
experimented with black and white drawings relative to visual
perception and light. In 1883, he exhibited one of them, Aman-Jean, at the Paris Salon.
As a base for his explorations and then as an expansion into color from
black and white, he used writings of a French chemist, Michel Eugéne
Chevreul, who among many positions held, was the director of the
Gobelin Tapestry Works. In this position, he carried out
research on color contrast, and the resulting text, completed in 1839,
was The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors. (wikipedia)
The first painting of Seurat where he fused design and color into composition was Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte,
now his most famous painting and in the collection of the Chicago Art
Institute. To execute this work, which he completed in 1885, he
did twenty-three preliminary
drawings and then had thirty-eight sessions of painting---"a far cry
from the canvases the Impressionists completed in one sitting."
Because of his violation of traditional methods, Seurat was refused
admission to other Salons, so he and other pioneering artists formed
the Societe des Artistes Independants. Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte was the featured work of the Societe's 1886 exhibition.
During the 1880s, Seurat was spending his winters in Paris and summers on the north coast of France.
In 1891, shortly after firming his theories, Georges Seurat died
septic sore throat at the age of thirty-one. "He left behind over
four hundred drawings, six completed sketchbooks, and about sixty
canvases, five of them several meters square in size." A group of
followers carried on his work including Camille Pissarro, who
eventually decided the
methods were too complicated, and Paul Signac, who carried on the
theories of Seurat, committed to replacing the 'muddy mixtures' of
Impressionism with luminous, intense colors.
Seurat talked very little of his private life, but after he died, his
friends learned that his mistress was the model for his 1890 painting, Young Woman Powdering Herself (Courtauld Institute)
Georges Seurat was born on December 2, 1859, in Paris. In 1875 he
attended the municipal school of sculptor Justin Lequien. From
March 1878 to November 1879, he was enrolled in the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts. After a year of military service on the Breton coast,
Seurat returned to Paris. From the late 1870s, his interest in
current scientific theories about color perception and chromatics grew,
and by 1881, he had studied Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors (1839) by Michel-Eugène Chevreul and treatises by Charles Blank, Thomas Couture, Ogden N. Rood, and David Sutter.
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portrait drawing by Seurat was selected for the 1883 Salon. In
1884 after being rejected by the Salon, he, with Henri-Edmond Cross,
Maximilian Luce, Odilon Redon, and Paul Signac, founded the Salon des
Indépendants. With Cross and Signac, Seurat developed Divisionism
(the term he preferred to Pointilism), breaking down colors into their
constituent hues and applying them side by side on canvas. In
Seurat's method, which he also called peinture optique, colors
placed next to each other were intended to mix in the eye of the viewer
and approximate the quality of natural light. In 1886, Seurat met
mathematician and scientist Charles Henry. Vocal in his ideas
about the interconnections between aesthetics and science, Henry
influenced Seurat's desire to logically control color and space and his
later attempts to find methodical, scientific means of composition.
In addition to numerous smaller works, Seurat created seven major paintings, the best-known of which is perhaps Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte
(1884—86, Art Institute of Chicago) first exhibited in the Eighth
Impressionist Exhibition in 1886. Throughout the late 1880s, he
summered on the Channel coast, working outdoors from the landscape and
following the example of Impressionism [more] in selecting his subject
matter. In the late 1880s, he expanded his depictions of
bourgeois Parisian life to include scenes of circuses and cabarets.
after installing the 1891 Salon des Indépendants, Seurat took
ill. He died on March 29 in Paris, after a brief bout with
pneumonia or meningitis. At his parents' request, the contents of
Seurat's studio were classified and, after a proposed gift to the
Louvre was refused, dispersed among Madeleine Knobloch (his common-law
wife) and several of Seurat's followers.
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