Abstract Canvas Prints No 62 : Brightly Coloured Palette
It’s a great shame that one of the most striking traits the three artists shared was a propensity to die just as they were getting going.
Gauguin did the best, making it to his mid 50s. Next was Van Gogh, whose suicide, age 37 devastated Seurat, who a year later was also dead.
At just 31 years old, Seurat succumbed to suspected meningitis, which claimed his young son a fortnight later and his father shortly after that.
His great friend and partner in Pointilism, Paul Signac (1863-1935), had a different diagnosis, saying, ‘Our poor friend killed himself by overwork.’
And Seurat did work hard. Here was an artist who took himself, life and art very seriously.
His father was a strange man who let a separate, secretive life away from his Paris based family.
He was not one for socialising. And it would appear that Georges had inherited some of his dads quirks.
He too was a highly secretive, antisocial individual who preferred his own company, hidden away from the throng of urban life.
But for Georges, this was in order to take himself off to his studio.
This was his true creative domain, not outside painting ‘en plein air.’
He would make several preparatory sketches, he called them croutons, en plein air, in front of the motive, but he would then make the main painting back at his studio.
Not for Seurat, then, the idea of popping outside and quickly knocking off a painting that would be finished by the time the first round of absinthe was ordered that evening.
Unlike Monet, he had little interest in capturing a fleeting moment, on the contrary, his aspiration was to capture timelessness.
He wanted to take everything the Impressionists movement had taught him, brightly coloured palette, everyday subjects, the evocation of atmosphere, and give their ideas structures and solidarity.