- 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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Seurat's first major work was "Bathers at Asnières," dated 1884, a large-scale canvas showing a scene of laborers relaxing alongside a river outside Paris. "Bathers" was followed by "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte" (1884-86), an even larger work depicting middle-class Parisians strolling and resting in an island park on the Seine River. (This painting was first exhibited in the Eighth Impressionist Exhibition in 1886.) In both works,
Seurat tried to give modern-day figures a sense of significance and permanence by simplifying their forms and limiting their details; at the same time, his experimental brushwork and color combinations kept the scenes vivid and engaging.
Seurat painted female subjects in "The Models" of 1887-88 and "Young Woman Powdering Herself" of 1888-89. In the late 1880s, he created several scenes of circuses and nightlife, including "Circus Sideshow" (1887-88), "Le Chahut" (1889-90) and "The Circus" (1890-91). He also produced a number of seascapes of the Normandy coast, as well as a number of masterful black-and-white drawings in Conté crayon (a mix of wax and graphite or charcoal).
Seurat died on March 29, 1891, in Paris, after a brief illness that was most likely pneumonia or meningitis. He was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. He was survived by his common-law wife, Madeleine Knobloch; their son, Pierre-Georges Seurat, died a month later.
Seurat's paintings and artistic theories influenced many of his contemporaries, from Paul Signac to Vincent van Gogh to Symbolist artists. His monumental "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte," now at the Art Institute of Chicago, is considered an iconic work of late 19th century art. This painting, and Seurat's career, inspired Steven Sondheim to write the musical Sunday in the Park with George (1984). The work is also featured in the John Hughes film Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986).
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