Seurat Re-Viewed

Overview

Georges Seurat is best known as the painter of A Sunday on the Grande Jatte—1884, one of the most recognizable and reproduced works of art in the world. In recent years the painting has been the subject of a highly successful exhibition, the inspiration for a Broadway musical (by Stephen Sondheim), and the subject of a television program. The Grande Jatte has achieved this iconic status for a number of reasons, but is unknown to most people except as a simulacrum. The Grande Jatte is also plagued by the ...

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Overview

Georges Seurat is best known as the painter of A Sunday on the Grande Jatte—1884, one of the most recognizable and reproduced works of art in the world. In recent years the painting has been the subject of a highly successful exhibition, the inspiration for a Broadway musical (by Stephen Sondheim), and the subject of a television program. The Grande Jatte has achieved this iconic status for a number of reasons, but is unknown to most people except as a simulacrum. The Grande Jatte is also plagued by the long-standing cliché that it embodies a “scientific” way of painting. The painting is much more complex, however; so is Seurat’s body of work as a whole. In this collection of essays, Paul Smith has assembled a broader view of Seurat’s oeuvre. Seurat Re-viewed touches on its engagement with society, gender, politics, new artists’ materials, and developments in art theory.

Individual essays focus on the many facets of Seurat’s work and its context, including its use of color and its debt to color theory; its exploitation of different drawing media; its connection to the work of the artist’s contemporaries, including the poets Jules Laforgue and Stéphane Mallarmé; and its concern with nineteenth-century social issues. The contributions also show important links among the Grande Jatte, literary Symbolism, and the development of future Modernist practices. The book amounts to a major reevaluation of Seurat’s art in the culture of the late nineteenth century.

In addition to the editor, the contributors are Anthea Callen, S. Hollis Clayson, Jonathan Crary, Joan U. Halperin, Richard Hobbs, John House, Brendan Prendeville, Georges Roque, and Richard Shiff.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The book as a whole is eclectic and adventurous. There is a collective determination not to become mired in stale controversy. . . . Colour theory is not ignored, but there is far more here than Seurat’s palette and Chevreul’s colour disc. There is poetry and politics, ethics and edges, the family and the father, sensation, disenchantment, timelessness, irony and absence. It is by turns thrilling and demanding.”
—Alex Danchev, The Times Higher Education Supplement
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271035451
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 3/4/2010
  • Series: Refiguring Modernism, #14
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Smith is Professor of History of Art at the University of Warwick. He is also the editor of Penn State Press’s edition of Marius Roux’s The Substance and the Shadow (2007)

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Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction

Paul Smith

Technique and Theory

1. Hors-d’œuvre: Edges, Boundaries, and Marginality, with Particular Reference to Seurat’s Drawings

Anthea Callen

2. Seurat and Color Theory

Georges Roque

Society and the Subject

3. The Family and the Father: The Grande Jatte and Its Absences

S. Hollis Clayson

4. Illuminations of Disenchantment: Seurat’s Parade de Cirque

Jonathan Crary

Irony

5. Interpreting Seurat’s Figure Paintings

John House

6. The Ironic Eye/I in Jules Laforgue and Georges Seurat

Joan U. Halperin

Sensation

7. Seurat and the Act of Sensing: Perception as Artifact

Brendan Prendeville

8. Grave Seurat

Richard Shiff

Stillness and Symbolism

9. “Souls of Glass”: Seurat and the Ethics of “Timeless” Experience

Paul Smith

10. Seurat and Mallarmean Thought

Richard Hobbs

Selected Bibliography

List of Contributors

Index

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