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Georges Seurat, The Seine seen from La Grande Jatte

Key facts
Full title The Seine seen from La Grande Jatte
Artist Georges Seurat
Artist dates 1859 - 1891
Date made 1888
Medium and support Oil on walnut
Dimensions 15.7 × 25 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Heinz Berggruen, 1995
Inventory number NG6558
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Seine seen from La Grande Jatte
Georges Seurat

The island of La Grande Jatte and the views from it across the river Seine were a rich source of pictorial subjects for Seurat during the 1880s. He was especially attracted to this location, in part because of the pictorial forms and structures it offered, such as the horizontal of the river and its embankments which were countered by vertical trees and sailboats.

This study was very likely painted on site and formed the basis for a larger painting of 1888, The Seine from La Grande Jatte (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels). Seurat used a board covered by dense white priming that enhances the brilliance of the paint, which he applied using a loose version of pointillism (a technique of painting in small dots of pure colour). He initially placed a large white-sailed yacht to the left of the picture, but changed his mind and painted over it. The ghostly trace of its sails is still visible.

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