a sunday afternoon on the island of la grande jatte at orangerie museum
Seurat’s palette consisted of the usual pigments of his time   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.  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.  In the third stage during 1888–89 Seurat added the colored borders to his composition.
Seurat himself told a sympathetic critic, Gustave Kahn, that his model was the Panathenaic procession in the Parthenon frieze. But Seurat didn’t want to paint ancient Athenians. He wanted ‘to make the moderns file past . in their essential form.’ By ‘moderns’ he meant nothing very complicated. He wanted ordinary people as his subject, and ordinary life. He was a bit of a democract—a “Communard,” as one of his friends remarked, referring to the left-wing revolutionaries of 1871; and he was fascinated by the way things distinct and different encountered each other: the city and the country, the farm and the factory, the bourgeois and the proletarian meeting at their edges in a sort of harmony of opposites. 
La Grande Jatte, toward Clichy, 2006, via wikipedia.org
However, after A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte was exhibited in 1884, it was mostly heralded as a grand work of meticulous proportions. It appears that the biggest issue contemporary French art scene had with the piece was the way in which it was made – as is the case with most bold new artistic movements or styles, Pointillism had to face its fair share of initial scrutiny. After all, the painting’s style was unlike anything else that preceded it, so it was only natural for some to question it.
Seurat completed this monumental masterpiece in the 1880s. In order to craft the larger-than-life scene, the artist meticulously applied millions of hand-painted dots to the canvas. Seurat pioneered this technique when painting A Sunday Afternoon the the Island of La Grande Jatte, sparking the start of the Pointillist movement.
Paul Signac, “The Pine Tree at Saint-Tropez,” 1909 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)
Some of his concern came from the position of Impressionism on the Parisian art scene of the 1880s, for all of the members of the group had gone their own ways and some had abandoned Impressionism altogether. Monet stood firm but recognized a need to expand the style, reasserting its strength in the face of challenges by younger artists.
Still, Monet wrote a friend, ”I would like so much to prove that I can do something else.” And in 1889, almost at the age of 50, he decided to prove it by embarking on the works of the present exhibition, his paintings in series.
The French poet’s most famous work, Les Fleurs du Mal, described real life in modern, industrialized Paris during the mid-19th century. Baudelaire referred to Delacroix as a “a poet in painting”. When Manet’s controversial portrait of Olympia as a nude prostitute provoked scandal, Baudelaire supported him as well. After Baudelaire suffered a stroke, Manet and his wife Suzanne were frequent bedside visitors.
Millet, a founder of the Barbizon school of painters, helped to develop en plein air landscape painting, a technique that greatly influenced the Impressionists who followed. Vincent van Gogh respected Millet greatly and although he never did see The Sower (it was already in a private collection before Vincent was born in 1853) van Gogh emulated Millet’s style in his version of La Méridienne, which today can be seen at the Musée d’Orsay in room 71 (detail above).