From the 1880s to the very beginning of the 20th century, modern painters set out to develop Impressionism into a variety of new directions, from Neo-Impressionism to Symbolism. Seurat, Cézanne, Gauguin, and van Gogh are some of the most important artists from this period. Together they form what art historians have called “Post-Impressionism”.
After an introduction on Post-Impressionism, our investigation will focus on Georges Seurat and the movement that grew around him. In 1884-86, Seurat devised his famous pointillist technique, applying the paint dot by dot, without mixing colours. This stylistic innovation startled the audience and Seurat was soon designated as the leader of a new rebellious school of painting. We will study some of his masterpieces such as La Grande Jatte, in order to become familiar with his technique, and understand where it came from and what the purpose was. Paintings by artists who followed in his footsteps, such as Paul Signac, Maximilien Luce, and Henri-Edmond Cross, will also be considered. Finally we will discuss this art movement’s place within the late 19th century Parisian art scene, and we will address its posterity. Indeed, early 20th century avant-garde artists such as Matisse, Delaunay, and Giacomo Balla learnt a great deal from Seurat and his followers.
Felix Vallotton – The Bath, Summer Evening (1892)
Gottfried Keller Institute