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Art Watch : Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across nay discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch. 

This master draftsman, artist, painter is most popularly and partly titled as the creator of ‘pointillism’. As part of a group of artists who wanted to move away from impressionism. Yet not revert to old techniques of painting, began experimenting and designing new media for themselves to explore as means to achieve this goal. Seurat was successful and thus gave us detail and illusion through Pointillism. This movement was born out of his experiments with Chromoluminarism. A technique involving the arrangement of colours in blocks to stimulated the eye to create the shapes, without any lines.

Born on December 2, 1859, in Paris, France Georges Pierre Seurat, received his initial training at the École des Beaux-Arts. Seurat, his brother, Emile, and sister, Marie-Berthe, were raised primarily by their mother, Ernestine Seurat. They lived in Paris. His father – a customs official was often away from home. He received his earliest art lessons from an uncle. His formal art education began around 1875. He began attending a local art school and studying under sculptor Justin Lequien.

Why Georges Seurat?

Seurat was enrolled at the famous École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, from 1878 to 1879. Here he received training under artist Henri Lehmann. But it was an art school and there were certain rules. The restrictions left young Seurat feeling frustrated with the academic methods. He would leave to study on his own.

It was the new large-scale paintings of Puvis de Chavannes that he admired. In April 1879, he visited the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition and saw radical new works by Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro. He was struck by the Impressionists’ ways of communicating light and atmosphere influenced his own thinking about painting.

Continuously evolving, Seurat developed a style of painting during the mid-1880s, which came to be called Divisionism or Pointillism. He dabbed tiny strokes or “points” of pure colour onto the canvas. Rather than blending the colours together on his palette. Finally when they were placed side by side, they would appear to blend when viewed from a distance. Thus producing luminous, shimmering colour effects through “optical mixing.”

Artistic Journey

Seurat and his colleagues were famous for often taking inspiration from the streets of the city. From its cabarets and nightclubs, and from the parks and landscapes of the Paris suburbs. Seurat continued the work of the Impressionists, not only through his experiments with technique but through his interest in everyday subject matter.

His 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. He successfully 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) that are revered and are in the prized possession of prestigious museum collections.

For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

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