Study for Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte: Seated Woman with a Parasol - Georges Seurat, 1884-85
From the Art Institute of Chicago’s website:
Seurat began La Grande Jatte in May 1884. Its preparation involved approximately 28 drawings, 28 panels, and 3 larger canvases, including one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Among the drawings included in Seurat and the Making of “La Grande Jatte” are a view of tree trunks and the profile figure of a seated woman. These were executed in conté crayon, a soft black drawing tool, on textured white paper. The flat, simplified forms of these drawings evoke a certain mystery through Seurat’s subtle handling of black and white. Painted studies of figures include the strolling woman with the pet monkey; the seated foreground woman; the standing woman with the parasol in the center of the final painting; and one of the soldiers in the background. The differences in the arrangement of figures in a small study of the full composition compared to the final painting reveal the extent of Seurat’s adjustments and reworkings during the creation of his masterpiece. Clearly, the artist’s self-consciously ambitious project involved calculation, but as the studies show, the creative genesis also involved intuition. They chart the process of thinking and rethinking in which Seurat created, altered, and at times rejected different elements before arriving at his ultimate vision.
John Hughes’ commentary: The closer he looks at the child, the less he sees…The more he looks at it, there’s nothing there and I think he fears that the more you look at him, the less you see—there isn’t anything there. That’s him.