Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat
L’homme couché (Etude pour »Une baignade, Asnières«), 1883/84
Add to favorites 

Currently on show at the Fondation Beyeler

Georges Seurat
L’homme couché (Etude pour »Une baignade, Asnières«), 1883/84

Reclining Man (Study for “Une baignade, Asnières”)
Conté crayon on Ingres “Michallet” paper, 24.5 x 31.5 cm
Photo: Peter Schibli, Basel

This drawing is a preliminary study for the figure in the foreground of the painting Bathers at Asnières (National Gallery, London). The artist is considered the inventor of the pointillist technique: his paintings consist of little dots (“points”), usually of unmixed colour, placed one beside the other in such a way that the viewer perceives them as a whole, similar to modern halftone printing. Thus, like Cézanne, Seurat introduced to painting a constructive element which bore no relation to the subject –thereby creating an important precondition for the development of abstract art. The soft chalk and the structure of the paper likewise contribute to the impression that the picture is composed of tiny, individual abstract particles.

Georges Seurat

1859, Paris – 1891, Paris

The French artist Georges Seurat, who was initially influenced by the classically academic master paintings in the Louvre and especially by the work of Delacroix, is regarded as the founder and foremost exponent of Neo-Impressionism, as well as being one of the leading Pointillists. In 1879, however, he turned his back on academic ideals following a visit to the Impressionist exhibition. The books Phenomena of Vision by David Sutter and Scientific Theory of Colors and Their Application to Art and Industry by Ogden Rood provided the theoretical foundation for Seurat’s intense fascination with the phenomena of light and colour. In 1883 his work was presented at the Paris Salon for the first and only time. Through his friendship with Paul Signac, Seurat found his way into the inner circles of the artistic avant-garde, where his theories on colour and line began to exert considerable influence. His paintings are characterized by an experimental approach to form, colour and line that ultimately constitutes an explicit rejection of the formal leanings of Impressionism.

Station