day in the park imressionist painting
The Island of la Grande Jatte is located at the very gates of Paris, lying in the Seine between Neuilly and Levallois-Perret, a short distance from where La Défense business district currently stands. Although for many years it was an industrial site, it is today the site of a public garden and a housing development. When Seurat began the painting in 1884, the island was a bucolic retreat far from the urban center.
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   (over $354,000 in 2018 dollars  ).
Georges Seurat, Study for ‘A Sunday afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’, 1884-86, Musée d’Orsay
Seurat embraced the subject matter of modern life so typical to Impressionist artists, but he went beyond their interest of capturing the moment. Seurat sought to evoke permanence by recalling the art of the past, especially Egyptian and Greek sculpture and even Italian Renaissance frescoes. As he explained to the French poet Gustave Kahn, “The Panathenaeans of Phidias formed a procession. I want to make modern people, in their essential traits, move about as they do on those friezes, and place them on canvases organized by harmonies of color.
In the 1940s, Alfred Hitchcock commissioned Dalí to help him create a dream sequence for Spellbound, his 1945 thriller starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck. “I wanted Dalí because of the architectural sharpness of his work,” Hitchcock explained in one of the extensive interviews he gave to fellow filmmaker François Truffaut in 1962. Hitchcock hoped that Dalí could bring some of the vivid imagery of his work to the dream sequence the movie called for, but the director got a bit more Surrealism than he bargained for. As Hitchcock told Truffaut, “Dalí had some strange ideas; he wanted a statue to crack like a shell falling apart, with ants crawling all over it, and underneath, there would be Ingrid Bergman, covered by the ants! It just wasn’t possible.”
Being an exhibition full of Surrealists, Dalí’s stunt was hardly the oddest behavior on display that day. Painter Sheila Legge arrived at the show’s opening carrying a pork chop that quickly went bad in the June heat, and poet Dylan Thomas went around offering visitors teacups of boiled string.
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte was painted in two sessions, the first between May 1884 and March 1885, and the second from October 1885 to May 1886. Seurat claimed he sat in the park for hours upon hours, creating numerous sketches of the various figures in order to perfect their form before he even thought about starting the actual painting.
In traditional painting, shadows are primarily represented by the color black, but the principles of Pointillism dictate that one should define his shadows by the color they come into contact with. The skirts of the women are definitely the best examples of this. On the other hand, Seurat’s use of light is also one of the unique points of the piece. The light from the left comes into contact with people and objects in the composition, and he did a truly masterful job of blending such colors.
Seurat continued the work of the Impressionists, not only through his experiments with technique, but through his interest in everyday subject matter. He and his colleagues often took inspiration from the streets of the city, from its cabarets and nightclubs, and from the parks and landscapes of the Paris suburbs.
Seurat’s first major work was “Bathers at Asnières,” dated 1884, a large-scale canvas showing a scene of laborers relaxing alongside a river outside Paris. “Bathers” was followed by “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” (1884-86), an even larger work depicting middle-class Parisians strolling and resting in an island park on the Seine River. (This painting was first exhibited in the Eighth Impressionist Exhibition in 1886.) In both works, Seurat tried to give modern-day figures a sense of significance and permanence by simplifying their forms and limiting their details; at the same time, his experimental brushwork and color combinations kept the scenes vivid and engaging.