in what museum is a sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
Over the course of art history, certain pieces have come to symbolize entire artistic genres. Leonardo’s Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s David, for example, define the Italian Renaissance; The Scream by Edvard Munch epitomizes Expressionism; and Pointillism is typified by Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon the the Island of La Grande Jatte.
Georges Seurat, Study for “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” 1884 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (by Georges-Pierre Seurat) is one of the most influential paintings in art history. It is a large painting (6 ft. 10 in. X 10 ft. 1 in.) depicting an afternoon landscape of a park with numerous picnickers appearing to watch sailboats on the water. It features simple lines, vivid colors, and detailed accuracy of light and shadow.
In this masterpiece, Georges-Pierre Seurat employed the then innovative technique of pointillism. This method was inspired by scientific discoveries regarding color theory and optical effect. Rather than traditional brush strokes, he used a mass of miniscule contrasting dots which appear as a solid color to the human eye.
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. 
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.
Georges Seurat, Sunday at La Grand Jatte, 1884, Art Institute of Chicago, detail
It is the most famous example of use of highly systematic and “scientific” technique, subsequently called Pointillism. It relies on the ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to blend the color spots into a fuller range of tones. Seurat himself preferred to call his technique “chromo-luminarism,” a term he felt better stressed its focus on color and light.
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, detail, via Wikimedia Commons
What makes this painting even more unique and mysterious is that the theme of the work is not some profound emotion or momentous event, but the banalest of workaday scenes.