Happy Birthday Georges Seurat!! French painter was born in 1859; Seurat was a Post-Impressionist, working in the pointillist or divisionist style. Although Seurat died early (32), probably from diptheria, he made quite an impact on neo-impressionists. Seurat was fascinated with color theory and what he termed "Chromolumnarism". He believed harmony and emotion could be created through color. His canvases were very large, completed following many smaller “sketches” or compositional studies. His major painting La Grande Jatte (or Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte) is considered an icon of 19th century painting. Sixty studies were painted for this pointillist work that took him two years to complete. When studying La Grande Jatte, his figures vary in their spatial relationships and solidity when compared to his previous works. While the canvas is crowded with figures, few of them overlap or touch each other. Various social classes are represented as they enjoy activities in the park. One wonders at the purpose or aim of the ambitious work that appears to be a slice of life or a frieze of activity.
Pointillism-optical mixtures of tiny dots or points of primary color mixtures (for instance yellow and blue) placed tightly together, creating the illusion of a secondary color (green). More advanced work includes a third color, for instance sunny areas might have orange added to the yellow and blue to create the illusion of sunlit grass. The idea is for the eye to mix the colors optically rather than the painter to physically mix them.