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Key facts
Full title The Channel of Gravelines, Grand Fort-Philippe
Artist Georges Seurat
Artist dates 1859 - 1891
Date made 1890
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 65 x 81 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought with the aid of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, 1995
Inventory number NG6554
Location Room 43
Art route(s) B
Collection Main Collection
The Channel of Gravelines, Grand Fort-Philippe
Georges Seurat

This is one of four paintings Seurat produced in 1890 near the town of Gravelines, a small port on the northern French coast between Calais and Dunkirk. Positioned on the sand dunes of Petit-Fort-Philippe, we see the shore in the morning light after the receding tide has left a broad expanse of open beach in the foreground.

Using the horizontal blue stripe of the channel, Seurat divides the painting into two near-equal halves of sky and sand. The vertical lines of the masts and signal tower are echoed just below by two mooring posts, subtly connecting these two halves.

Seurat covers the canvas with a shimmering mosaic of dots and strokes of unblended paint to create subtle gradations of luminous tone. He has also added a painted border of coloured dots. Each section of the border complements the adjacent area of the picture to intensify the impact of the colour.

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