- NAME: Georges Seurat
- OCCUPATION: Painter
- BIRTH DATE: December 02, 1859
- DEATH DATE: March 29, 1891
- Did You Know?: Seurat's masterpiece "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" inspired Stephen Sondheim to compose the musical "Sunday in the Park with George."
- EDUCATION: École des Beaux-Arts
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Paris, France
- PLACE OF DEATH: Paris, France
- AKA: Pierre-Georges Seurat
- AKA: Georges Seurat
- Full Name: Georges Pierre Seurat
Best Known For
The artist Georges Seurat is best known for originating the Pointillist method of painting, using small dot-like strokes of color in works such as "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte."
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The artist Georges Seurat was born on December 2, 1859, in Paris, France. After training at the École des Beaux-Arts, he broke free of tradition. Taking his technique a step beyond Impressionism, he painted with small strokes of pure color that seem to blend when viewed from a distance. This method, called Pointillism, is showcased in major works of the 1880s such as "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte." Seurat's career was cut short when he died of illness on March 29, 1891, in Paris.
"They see poetry in what I have done. No. I apply my methods, and that is all there is to it."
Georges Pierre Seurat was born on December 2, 1859, in Paris, France. His father, Antoine-Chrysostome Seurat, was a customs official who was often away from home. Seurat and his brother, Emile, and sister, Marie-Berthe, were raised primarily by their mother, Ernestine (Faivre) Seurat, in Paris.
Seurat received his earliest art lessons from an uncle. He began his formal art education around 1875, when he began attending a local art school and studying under sculptor Justin Lequien.
From 1878 to 1879, Georges Seurat was enrolled at the famous École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he received training under artist Henri Lehmann. However, feeling frustrated with the school's strict academic methods, he left and continued to study on his own. He admired the new large-scale paintings of Puvis de Chavannes, and in April 1879, he visited the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition and saw radical new works by Impressionist painters Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro. The Impressionists' ways of conveying light and atmosphere influenced Seurat's own thinking about painting.
Seurat was also interested in the science behind art, and he did a good deal of reading on perception, color theory and the psychological power of line and form. Two books that affected his development as an artist were Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors, written by chemist Michel-Eugène Chevreul, and Essay on the Unmistakable Signs of Art, by painter/writer Humbert de Superville.
Seurat exhibited a drawing in the annual Salon, a major state-sponsored exhibition, for the first time in 1883. However, when he was rejected by the Salon the following year, he banded together with other artists to found the Salon des Indépendants, a more progressive series of unjuried exhibitions.
In the mid-1880s, Seurat developed a style of painting that came to be called Divisionism or Pointillism. Rather than blending colors together on his palette, he dabbed tiny strokes or "points" of pure color onto the canvas. When he placed colors side by side, they would appear to blend when viewed from a distance, producing luminous, shimmering color effects through "optical mixing."
Seurat continued the work of the Impressionists, not only through his experiments with technique, but through his interest in everyday subject matter. He and his colleagues often took inspiration from the streets of the city, from its cabarets and nightclubs, and from the parks and landscapes of the Paris suburbs.
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