la grande jatte

La grande jatte
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Exhibition of Modern French Paintings from the Birch-Bartlett Collection, April–September, 1925, checklist no. 9.
Paris, Pavillon de la Ville de Paris, VIIIème Exposition de la Société des Artistes Indépendants, March 19–April 27, 1892, cat. 1082.

La grande jatte

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. [10]

The painting was first exhibited at the eighth (and last) Impressionist exhibition in May 1886, then in August 1886, dominating the second Salon of the Société des Artistes Indépendants, of which Seurat had been a founder in 1884. [6] Seurat was extremely disciplined, always serious, and private to the point of secretiveness—for the most part, steering his own steady course. As a painter, he wanted to make a difference in the history of art and with La Grand Jatte, succeeded. [7]

La grande jatte
In June 2009, a walk around the island (Île des impressionnistes) was established, detailing the works of the Impressionists. [5] [6] [7]
In 1818, the Duke of Orléans, Louis-Philippe, acquired the Château de Neuilly to house his family of ten children. He bought the land and created a park which included the island, reachable only by boat. He also moved the Temple de Mars (Temple of Mars), which his father had commissioned, from Parc Monceau, and put it on the northern point of the island, converting it into the Temple de l’amour (Temple of Love). It was moved to the southern end of the island in 1930. [1] [2]

La grande jatte
La Grande Jatte, toward Clichy, 2006, via
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.

La grande jatte
Paul Signac, “The Pine Tree at Saint-Tropez,” 1909 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)
After completing the painting in 1886, Seurat opted to exhibit it in the eighth and final Impressionist exhibition. While it was met with mixed reviews, it remained the artist’s most well-known work of art until (and after) his untimely death in 1891.


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