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Seurat, Georges-Pierre (1859–1891) By Somers, Lynn M.

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1431-1
Published: 02/05/2017
Retrieved: 17 September 2019, from
https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/seurat-georges-pierre-1859-1891

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Born in Paris in 1859 to a bourgeois family, painter and draughtsman Georges-Pierre Seurat enjoyed a brief but mature career as the leading French Neo-Impressionist. His invention of Divisionism (or “chromo-luminarism”), a painting technique grounded in science and the study of optics, challenged the spontaneity and fluidity of Impressionism, which by the 1880s had been largely subsumed by a capitalist gallery system. In 1886, at the eighth and final Impressionist exhibition, Seurat debuted his monumental Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande-Jatte (1884–1886), a “patient tapestry” of line and color that led the art critic and activist Félix Fénéon to coin the term néo-impressionisme. Equally shaped by the Renaissance frescoes of Piero della Francesca and the Baudelairean praise of the ephemerality of modern life, La Grande-Jatte symbolically closed a chapter in French painting. Seurat’s systematic aesthetic produced an indelible impact on fin de siècle artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Matisse, and later Pablo Picasso, Robert Delaunay, and André Breton’s Surrealism, firmly establishing him as integral to the 20th-century avant-garde. Seurat’s oeuvre includes approximately 500 drawings and 6 major figure paintings, an astonishing output for a career that lasted only 11 years.

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02/05/2017

Article DOI

10.4324/9781135000356-REM1431-1

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Citing this article:

Somers, Lynn M. "Seurat, Georges-Pierre (1859–1891)." The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism. : Taylor and Francis, 2016. Date Accessed 17 Sep. 2019 https://www.rem.routledge.com/articles/seurat-georges-pierre-1859-1891. doi:10.4324/9781135000356-REM1431-1

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