sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte

Sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
In the 1950s, historian and Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch drew social and political significance from Seurat’s La Grande Jatte. The historian’s focal point was Seurat’s mechanical use of the figures and what their static nature said about French society at the time. Afterward, the work received heavy criticism by many that centered on the artist’s mathematical and robotic interpretation of modernity in Paris. [8]
In 1958, the painting was loaned out for the only time: to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. On 15 April 1958, a fire there, which killed one person on the second floor of the museum, forced the evacuation of the painting, which had been on a floor above the fire in the Whitney Museum, which adjoined MoMA at the time. [21]

Sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
In order to perfect his painting of the popular park, Seurat completed a collection of preliminary sketches and drawings. Taking a cue from the Impressionists, he created these studies away from his studio and en plein air. This approach enabled Seurat to capture the color, light, and movement of the scene before him, which he revisited several times before finishing the final large-scale painting in 1886.
Though the subjects of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte are rendered in an unrealistic and almost minimalist style, Seurat opted to place them in a range of positions (“of some we see the backs, some we see full-face, some in profile, some are seated at right angles, some are stretched out horizontally, some are standing up straight,” art critic Félix Fénéon remarked in 1886). This decision adds a sense of realism to the otherwise stylized depiction and helps draws the viewer into the receding scenery.

Sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
Seurat sought to capture the people of his Paris just as these eras immortalized their citizens. Or as he once put it to 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.”
The incident didn’t mark the end of Dalí’s dalliances with fascism. He later became a supporter of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, meeting with the general twice at his palace in Madrid, including to personally deliver a portrait of Franco’s niece.

Sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
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.
Seurat’s use of this highly systematic and near-scientific technique [3] distinguished his art from the endlessly more intuitive approach to painting used by the Impressionists. Georges may have embraced the subject matter of modern life preferred by artists such as Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, but the way he depicted it on canvas couldn’t be any more different from the techniques of his peers.

Sunday afternoon on the island of la grand jatte
Here the mix of green provides a blue shadow, which does not follow the conventions of shadow casting. Such a different approach in the creation of shadows is repeated in the dress of the woman on the right. Where the mix of light and green casts a yellow halo for the trees the same effect is mimicked here. The woman’s dress creates a slight yellow line before the onset of the shadow and this yellow hue can be seen particularly towards the back of her skirt.
The island of La Grande Jatte:
In his formative years Seurat’s artistic direction differed greatly from his school, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. As a direct result the artist broke away from the school and headed to La Grande Jatte to live for a brief period.

References:

http://mymodernmet.com/georges-seurat-a-sunday-afternoon-on-the-island-of-la-grande-jatte/
http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/63510/15-things-you-might-not-know-about-sunday-la-grande-jatte-1884
http://www.widewalls.ch/a-sunday-afternoon-on-the-island-of-la-grande-jatte-georges-seurat/
http://www.artble.com/artists/georges_seurat/paintings/a_sunday_afternoon_on_the_island_of_la_grande_jatte
http://mymodernmet.com/georges-seurat-a-sunday-afternoon-on-the-island-of-la-grande-jatte/

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