a sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte

A sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
“Confronting his subject,” Signac explained, “Seurat, before touching his little panel with paint, scrutinizes, compares, looks with half shut eyes at the play of light and shadow, observes contrasts, isolates reflections, plays for a long time with the cover of the box which serves as his palette, then . . . he slices from his little heap of colors arranged in the order of the spectrum the various colored elements which form the tint destined best to convey the mystery he has glimpsed. Execution follows on observation, stroke by stroke the panel is covered.”
Paul Signac, “The Pine Tree at Saint-Tropez,” 1909 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)

A sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
Seurat’s palette consisted of the usual pigments of his time [12] [13] such as cobalt blue, emerald green and vermilion. Additionally, Seurat used then new pigment zinc yellow (zinc chromate), predominantly for yellow highlights in the sunlit grass in the middle of the painting but also in mixtures with orange and blue pigments. In the century and more since the painting’s completion, the zinc yellow has darkened to brown—a color degeneration that was already showing in the painting in Seurat’s lifetime. [14] The discoloration of the originally bright yellow zinc yellow (zinc chromate) to brownish color is due to the chemical reaction of the chromate ions to orange-colored dichromate ions. [15] In the third stage during 1888–89 Seurat added the colored borders to his composition.
In conceptual artist Don Celender’s 1974–75 book Observation and Scholarship Examination for Art Historians, Museum Directors, Artists, Dealers and Collectors, it is claimed that the institute paid $24,000 for the work [18] [19] (over $354,000 in 2018 dollars [20] ).

A sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
Dalí and Gala were known for throwing elaborate, bizarre dinner parties. At one, a fundraiser in Monterey, California in 1941, guests like Bob Hope and Alfred Hitchcock were asked to dress up as their own dreams. (Gala wore a unicorn’s head.) Dalí borrowed monkeys from the San Francisco zoo for the evening, and guests were served fish in satin shoes, followed by live frogs. The event was so lavish that, rather than raising money for refugee artists, as it was designed to, it actually lost money.
Dalí occasionally moonlighted as a fashion designer, bringing some of his signature motifs to womenswear. He collaborated with Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli to create clothing inspired by his paintings, like a dress with drawer-like pockets inspired by The Anthropomorphic Cabinet, a shoe hat inspired by a photo Dalí took of Gala, and a lobster-print dress worn by Wallis Simpson in a Vogue photoshoot in 1937. (Dalí regularly put lobsters in his paintings, often using them to represent his fear of castration.)

A sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
Individuals never did interest Seurat, only their formal elegance and the way they contributed to the overall perfect balance of the composition. As a result, this high class get-away for the Parisian community appears to be terrifyingly still – although we assume children would be running around and that dogs would be barking, the impression we receive is of silence, of control, of no disorder whatsoever. Even those who came to this mile-long island in pairs seem alone in their concise form.
Other than the little girl, all of the figures in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte are cloaked in shadow, almost robbed of their identities.

A sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Grammaire was a version of such treatises in terms that were easier for artists to understand and upon reading it, it was said to have had a notable influence on Seurat and his work on Grand Jatte. Blanc’s work was said to make reference to styles and techniques, which could have and eventually did have a direct application for Grande Jatte.



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