Friday, February 1, 2008

Georges Seurat, Part 2

Are you feeling well rested? Good! I have plenty more information to share with you about Georges Seurat and Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. If you missed yesterday’s post, go read it before you read on. Just to make things easier, I re-posted La Grande Jatte below so you won’t have to keep flipping between posts.
And now, back to Seurat’s biography, where we left off yesterday. In 1883, and it took all of 1883, Seurat painted his first large masterpiece, Bathing at Asnieres, shown below. The Paris Salon didn’t like it, though, and wouldn’t let Seurat show it at their exhibition. As you can imagine, this frustrated Seurat and he and other artists formed their own group, the Societe des Artistes Independants.
In 1884 he began his best known piece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (shown at the beginning of this post). He finally finished it in 1886, two years later. This painting is now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago and has been since 1926. It is a massive piece of about 10 feet wide by 6 feet tall and is worth the trip. If you do get the chance to see the painting up close, notice that there is a shadow in the distant trees that looks like someone lurking. Also look closely at the skirt of the woman with the monkey. In person, you can see that Seurat made the skirt larger after the painting was finished. This painting is a great example of why it’s important and preferable to view original paintings than photos of paintings on glossy pages.

Incidentally, the Art Institute of Chicago is offering free admission to its permanent collection during February 2008. Two excellent exhibitions will be opening in February, Edward Hopper, who painted the famous Nighthawks (shown below), and Winslow Homer, on whom I’ve already posted. If you’re interested in Winslow Homer don’t forget to check out the review I posted on Anna Kirwan’s Of Flowers and Shadows. (If you visit, you will have to pay for the special exhibitions, but not the permanent collection which includes La Grande Jatte.)

Seurat lived a short life which ended in 1891 when he was just 31 years old. He had two sons, one of whom was born after Seurat’s death. Nothing is known of the children.

EDITED TO ADD: Paint Your Own Pointillist Picture

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Anonymous said...

Gosh, I have to update my blog huh... lol. Posting on this post instead of your latest because I looked up this painting on wikipedia to better understand your novel. :)

No, I have not done any editing yet. But it's not willpower that's stopped me. It's a little laziness and a lot of other commitments, most of which are appointments and such to plan the wedding (if you read my blog you'll see that I got engaged DURING NANO and yet still finished, mostly because I was so far along at that point).

JanNo didn't really work out for me, too much wedding stuff going on, but I'm still planning on finishing this new novel. I think it's a good idea, just need to figure it all out.

Jessica said...

I'm sure it is a good idea. You have a creative mind, clearly. The longer you think about it the better (and faster) it will flow when you finally sit down to write it so I'm sure you'll have no trouble meeting your goal.

Congrats on the engagement! Are you having a big wedding? Even for a small wedding the planning can be overwhelming but I know you'll get through it. And then there'll be a honeymoon!?

Anonymous said...

thank you for this fantastic kid friendly look at Seurat and his craft

Jessica said...

I'm glad you found it useful!