who painted sunday afternoon on the island of la grande jatte
The two main artistic traditions that dominated modern art during the second half of the nineteenth century – Realist painting and Impressionism – evolved from painters’ direct observation of the world around them. In contrast, Georges Seurat based his painting on the theories of Divisionism (a scientific interpretation of how the eye sees colour), pioneered by Michel Eugene Chevreul, Ogden Rood and others. The two large genre paintings that made his reputation – Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and Bathers at Asnieres – are perfect examples of his ‘new’ Impressionism – although calling it after Monet’s style of spontaneous plein-air painting is rather misleading. Seurat worked mostly in his studio and planned his compositions with meticulous attention to detail. Indeed, for La Grande Jatte he made over seventy preliminary drawings and oil sketches. For more on the impact of Seurat’s Neo-Impressionsm, see Italian Divisionism (1890-1907). For more about the two main traditions, and how they related to each other, see: Realism to Impressionism (c.1830-1900).
A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-6)
By Georges Seurat. One of the greatest modern paintings of the 19th century.
In the Simpsons episode “Mom and Pop Art” (10×19), Barney Gumble offers to pay for a beer with a handmade reproduction of the painting.
The painting is prominently featured in the 1986 comedy film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Such use is parodied, among others, in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Family Guy, and Muppet Babies.
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.
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.
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.
Dalí’s gravity-defying facial hair became a topic of conversation when the artist appeared on a 1954 episode of The Name’s the Same. Host Robert Q. Lewis called the mustache “quite beautiful” early in the show, and when panelist Gene Rayburn brought it up later—“Are you kidding with the thing?” he asked, gesturing as if twirling a mustache—Dalí answered exactly how you might expect him to. “This is the most serious part of my personality,” he said. He then went on to explain that his facial hair had some literary influence. “It’s a very simple Hungarian mustache. Mr. Marcel Proust used the same kind of pomade for his mustache.” As for the physics of the thing, it was all in the pomade, he said. He declined to discuss exactly how he got his facial hair to grow to such insane lengths.
When he painted this work, Georges Seurat was a mere 25-year-old who had only seven more years to live. He was an ambitious young man with a scientific theory to prove, something totally unique for the elite of the modern art world. Seurat’s theory was an optical one – he had the conviction that painting in dots was able to produce a brighter color than painting in strokes.
This Seurat’s painting was actually a mirror impression of his own earlier painting executed in the same year, Bathers at Asnières  . Whereas the figures in the earlier painting are doused in light, everyone portrayed in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte appears to be cast in shadow, either under trees or an umbrella, or from another person.