Georges Seurat is best known as the painter of A Sunday on the Grande Jatte1884, 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 clich that it embodies a scientific way of painting. The painting is much more complex, however; so is Seurats body of work as a whole. In this collection of essays, Paul Smith has assembled a broader view of Seurats 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 Seurats 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 artists contemporaries, including the poets Jules Laforgue and Stphane Mallarm; 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 Seurats 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.