Friday, December 16, 2011

The Real World In Georges Seurat’s Notebooks

Recently I discovered a web site
built a few years back by a museum
to showcase the drawings of Georges Seurat.
They’ve even put up graphic depictions
of four of his sketchbooks that open up
and display a few pages of his work.

I’ve never liked Seurat’s finished paintings
but I’ve always liked his rough oil studies
and it’s hard for me to put into words
how much I love his drawings and sketches.
Except for some paintings by Morisot,
or as I’d want to put it ‘Morisot,’
nothing in the whole history of art
seems as wonderful—as magic!—to me
as the drawings and sketches of Seurat.

Artists before him and artists after
have sometimes made similar drawings but
Seurat was unique in his vision and
how he reduced it to values and shapes.

The craft skills couldn’t be more mundane but
the mind behind the craft made the craft art.

In my world there are the stars in the shapes
we call constellations, and the drawings
and sketches created by Georges Seurat.

There are aspirations to be the one
or aspirations to be the other.

Even if all the power grids on earth
collapsed those notebooks would still shine like stars.

Once described as “the most beautiful painter’s drawings in existence,” Georges Seurat’s mysterious and luminous works on paper played a crucial role in his career. Though Seurat is most often remembered as a Neo-Impressionist, the inventor of pointillism, and the creator of the painting,
A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, his incomparable drawings are among his–and modernism’s–greatest achievements. Working primarily with conté crayon on paper, Seurat explored the Parisian metropolis and its environs, abstracted figures, spaces, and structures, and dramatized the relationship between light and shadow, creating a distinct body of work that is a touchstone for the art of the twentieth century and today.

from the introduction
to the New York Museum of Modern Art
Georges Seurat: The Drawings

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The sketchbook pages above are from
sketchbook IV, near the end


Is This A Junkyard Church

Edma In Heaven Laughing

“The Garden’s Edge”

Blows Against The (Expensive) Empire

I Can’t Sleep In My Kitchen


My two favorite books about
Georges Seurat are:

“Seurat: Drawings and Paintings”
by Robert L. Herbert

“Seurat and the Making of 'La Grande
Jatte'” by Robert L. Herbert

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