WHAT IS POINTILLISM?
Developed by Post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat and Neo-Impressionist painter Paul Signac, both Frenchmen working in Paris in the mid-1880’s, Pointillism was an artistic technique that built up an image using pure colours in small dots. This relied on the viewers brain to form the image in a way that was more visually striking.
It was the work of a French chemist called Michel Eugène Chevreul who discovered that, while working to help restore a tapestry, how colours were placed next to each other was far more important than how they were mixed within themselves. Seurat used Chevreul’s book, ‘Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours to develop the art of painting with dots of colour, instead of mixing them on a palette.
Considered to have grown from Neo-impressionism, Pointillism caused quite a stir at the time, with even the great Vincent Van Gogh claiming to have seen a “revelation of colour” after a visit to the studio where Seurat worked his magic, although Van Gogh had a style of his own that was too different for him to embrace this new, more technical method.
Famous works include Can-Can, Circus Sideshow, and Die Modelle, by Seurat, with Signacs work including such admired pieces as ‘The Windmills at Overschie’, and ‘The Yellow Sail’. Other notable proponents of the Pointillist style werHenri-Edmond Cross, Theo van Rysselberghe, and Georges Lemmen.