Georges Seurat Biography: Analysis of Works

1 January 2018

Georges Seurat was born 2 December 1859 in Paris.He died also in Paris in his parents’ home on 29 March 1891 at the age of 31. He is chiefly remembered as the pioneer of the Neo-Impressionist technique commonly known as Divisionism, or Pointillism, an approach associated with a softly flickering surface of small dots or strokes of color. Seurat’s theories can be summarized as follows: The emotion of gaiety can be achieved by the domination of luminous hues, by the predominance of warm colors, and by the use of lines directed upward. Calm is achieved through an equivalence/balance of the use of the light and the dark, by the balance of warm and cold colors, and by lines that are horizontal. Sadness is achieved by using dark and cold colors and by lines pointing downward. Bathers at Asnières was rejected by the Paris Salon, and instead he showed it at the Groupe des Artistes Indépendants in May 1884.

Soon, however, disillusioned by the poor organisation of the Indépendants, Seurat and some other artists he had met through the group – including Charles Angrand, Henri-Edmond Cross, Albert Dubois-Pillet and Paul Signac – set up a new organisation, the Société des Artistes Indépendants. Seurat’s new ideas on pointillism were to have an especially strong influence on Signac, who subsequently painted in the same idiom.Where the dialectic nature of Paul Cézanne’s work had been greatly influential during the highly expressionistic phase of proto-Cubism, between 1908 and 1910, the work of Seurat, with its flatter, more linear structures, would capture the attention of the Cubists from 1911.Seurat in his few years of activity, was able, with his observations on irradiation and the effects of contrast, to create afresh without any guiding tradition, to complete an esthetic system with a new technical method perfectly adapted to its expression.He was influenced by Grammaire des arts au dessin (1867) by Charles Blanc. Grammaire was a book inspired by the initial studies of color by figures such as Michel Eugéne Chevreul, David Sutter and Ogden Rood. Rood’s theories on color were also known to have had a distinct impact on Seurat and the other Neo-Impressionists.

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