Georges Seurat was born on December 2, 1859 in Paris, France. His parents were Chysostome-Antoine Seurat, who was a bailiff, and his mother Ernestine Faivre, whose family were very prosperous sculptors. He was the youngest of three children. In 1870, his family moved to Fontainebleau during the Franco-Prussian war. It was during this time that he began to take an interest in art and took lessons from his uncle who was an amateur painter. From 1878 to 1879, he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in France. He also attended the Brest Military Academy for one year and returned to Paris in 1880. During the next two years, he mastered the art of black and white drawing. His first major painting was rejected by the Paris Salon in 1883. In 1884, he formed the Societe des Artistes Independants, with other artists. There he shared his new ideas about pointillism, which is artwork created by using separate dots of contrasting color that cause a flicker and shimmering effect on the surface when viewed from a distance. In 1884, Seurat began work on his most famous masterpiece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. It took him two years to complete. In the summer of 1887 he served in the military and spent his summers working on several pieces. Seurat later moved to Boulevard de Clichy, where he met and secretly lived with a young model, Madeleine Knobloch. In 1890 she gave birth to his son. It wasn’t until after his son was born that he told his family about them. In 1891, Madeleine Knobloch was pregnant again. While working on his last piece, The Circus, he became ill and suddenly passed away on March 26, 1891. The Circus would remain unfinished. His second son was born shortly after his death, and also died soon after. Both are buried at the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Artwork:
1) Vase of Flowers (c. 1879 – c. 1881); 2) The Stone Breaker (1882); 3) A Sunday on La Grande Jatte – 1884 (1884-1886); 4) Seated Figures, Study for “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” (1184-1885); 5) Evening Grandcamp (1885); 6) Le Chahut (1889-1890); 7) The Channel of Gravelines, Petit Fort Philippe (1890); 8) Moored Boats and Trees (1890); 9) Woman in a Park (undated); 10) The Circus (1891). The piece that I researched was A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte is Georges Seurat’s most famous piece of art. It is approximately 7 feet by 10 feet in size and took him two years, from 1884-1886, to complete it. La Grande Jatte is an island in the Seine River that Seurat visited often. Seurat wanted to make modern people and their features move about on canvas using a technique called pointillism. He made several sketches in order to perfect the form of the people before the final piece was done. It is currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.