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Georges Seurat, Study for 'La Grande Jatte'

Key facts
Full title Study for 'La Grande Jatte'
Artist Georges Seurat
Artist dates 1859 - 1891
Date made 1884-5
Medium and support Oil on poplar
Dimensions 17.5 × 26 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Heinz Berggruen, 1995
Inventory number NG6560
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Study for 'La Grande Jatte'
Georges Seurat

Seurat produced many oil sketches and drawings as studies for his monumental painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte of 1884–6 (Art Institute of Chicago). Many of these concentrate on the landscape but others, including this one, focus on the scale and position of figures within the final picture.

Here we see a man standing rigidly, reduced to his essential outline with no incidental detail. Seurat had already included him in an earlier oil sketch, and he appears in the final painting where he is accompanied by an elegantly dressed woman. Like most of the people in the Grande Jatte, he is shown in profile as he looks straight ahead at the river. He wears a black top hat, a long grey jacket or coat and dark trousers, which identify him as a member of the middle or upper classes and, perhaps, as a dandy. He also holds what might be a walking cane or a furled umbrella and what may be a folded blanket or groundsheet.

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