Seurat on a Sunday

I visit a lot of museums but I grew up going to the Art Institute of Chicago. Honestly I felt it was my museum and at some point during a reinstallation of the collection, possibly in the late 80's a painting that I had build a strong connection with was moved. I was furious, indignant really. I had been studying Seurat's La Grande Jatte from the steps of gallery 240 my whole life. I studied it from near, from far, I moved around the stairs and navigated the people in front of it. I was learning from his composition, his color mixing, and the audacity of his framing. This was before I even knew I would be an artist. I was absorbed by the discipline that painting took, the tenacity of his pointillist technique still boggles my mind. It was moved to a smaller gallery, one that provided less space for active viewing of such a monumental work.

I visited the Art Institute on a cold day in February and was flooded with joy to see La Grande Jatte back in it's proper place. In a room large enough for me to move in and around eating up the marvelous details of this painting.  Thinking about this painting today, on a Sunday, in the midst of Covid-19, gives me a hope that we'll get through this and enjoy days in the park, together again soon.

Paul Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte, 1884

view of Seurat entering gallery 240, this hallway was wider back in the day

detail (monkey and dog), La Grande Jatte

detail (Musician),  La Grande Jatte


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