About This Artwork

Georges Seurat
French, 1859-1891

Seated Woman with a Parasol (study for La Grande Jatte), 1884/85

Black Conté crayon on ivory laid paper
477 x 315 mm

Bequest of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1999.7

During 1884 and 1885, Georges Seurat was hard at work on the most ambitious painting of his career, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884, now a centerpiece of the Art Institute’s collection of 19th-century French painting. The artist’s genesis of this large canvas involved many preparatory studies, which fall primarily into two groups: small compositional sketches and color studies on wooden panels, and nuanced Conté crayon drawings that explore both the empty landscape and the shapes of specific figures or figural groups. In this contemplative drawing, Seurat developed the expressive contours of the seated female figure holding a parasol that would ultimately occupy the center of the finished painting.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Salon des Artistes Indépendants-Rétrospective incorporée au Salon, Grandes Serres de la Ville de Paris, XXI, March 24-April 30, 1905, cat. 6.

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, "Rétrospecitve Georges Seurat," December 14, 1908-January 9, 1909, cat. 193.

New York, Galerie C.W. Kraushaar, "Modern French Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings," October 5-28, 1929, cat. 55.

New York, The Museum of Modern Art, "First Loan Exhibition: Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gough," November 8-December 7, 1929, cat. 67 (ill.).

Cambridge, Mass., The Fogg Art Museum, "Loan Exhibition of French Drawings and Prints of the Nineteenth Century," 1934, cat. 66.

New York, The Museum of Modern Art, "Modern Drawings," February 1944, p. 97, cat. 44.

New York, Knoedler Gallery, "Seurat: Paintings and Drawings," April 19-May 7, 1949, n.p., cat. 51.

Paris, Museé de L'Orangérie, "De David à Toulouse-Lautrec," 1955, cat. 91, pl. 88.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "French Drawings: Masterpieces of Seven Centuries," 1955-1956, cat. 170.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Seurat: Paintings and Drawings," January 16-March 7, 1958, p. 30, cat. 85; also traveled to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 24-May 11, 1958.

Paris, Musée de L'Orangerie, "De Clouet à Matisse," 1958-1959, n.p., cat. 188, pl. 190.

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Seurat: Drawings and Oil Sketches from New York Collections," September 29-November 27, 1977, n.p., cat. 29.

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Seurat," September 24, 1991-January 12, 1992, p. 214, cat. 144 (ill.); traveled to the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, April 9-August 12, 1991.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Seurat and the Making of 'La Grande Jatte'", June 16-September 19, 2004, cat. no. 71, p. 94 (ill.).

New York, Museum of Modern Art, “Georges Seurat: The Drawings,” October 28, 2007–January 7, 2008, pp. 220-221, and 253, cat. 116 (ill.), cat. by Jodi Hauptman, et. al.

Publication History

Lucie Cousturier, Georges Seurat (Paris, 1926), no. 59 (ill.).

Christian Zervos, "Un Dimanche à La Grande Jatte et la technique de Seurat," Cahiers d'Art 9 (1928), p. 370 (ill.).

Daniel Catton Rich, Seurat and the Evolution of "La Grande Jatte" (Chicago, 1935), pp. 53 and 22, pl. III.

Jacques Laprade, George Seurat (1945), p. IX.

Georges Seligman, The Drawings of Georges Seurat (New York, 1947), p. 49, pl. VII, cat. 9

Paul J. Sachs, Modern Prints and Drawings: A Guide to a Better Understanding of Modern Draughtsmanship (New York, 1954), p. 45 (ill.).

Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Masters of Modern Art (New York, 1954), p. 24 (ill.).

Joseph-Émile Muller, Seurat, Dessins (Paris, 1960), no. 20 (ill.).

César de Hauke, Seurat et son oeuvre (Paris, 1961), no. 629.

Hideji Takashima, Manet, Monet, Seurat (Tokyo: Holp Shuppan 1970), chapter 2 (ill.).

Carol Vogel, "4 Prized Drawings, No Longer Modern, Have Left MOMA," The New York Times (October 26, 1998), pp. A1 and A23.

Robert L. Kaiser, "A fuller view of a genius painter," Chicago Tribune (October 27, 1998), pp. 1 and (ill.).

Jason Edward Kauffman, "Her will be done," The Art Newspaper 87 (December 1998), (ill.).

"Que Seurat, Seurat," Art & Antiques (March 1999), p. 78 (ill.).

Nathan Goldstein, The Art of Responsive Drawing, 5th ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J., 1999), pp. 97-98, fig. 4.28.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Treasures from The Art Institute of Chicago, selected by James N. Wood with commentaries by Debra N. Mancoff (1st ed., Chicago and New York, 2000), p. 211 (ill.).

Howard Smagula, Creative Drawing, 2nd ed. (London, 2001), p. 117, fig. 5.11.

Llyn Gamwell, Exploring the Invisible; Art, Science, and the Spiritual (Princeton, 2002).

Patrick McCaughey, “The Dark Side of Georges Seurat,” Art in America (March 2008), pp. 138-143

Ownership History

Félix Fénéon, Paris, by 1905; sold through Henri Pierre Roche (1879-1959) to John Quinn (1870-1924), New York, 1923; Quinn estate, to 1925. Arthur B. Davies (1862-1928), New York; Davies estate; sold, American Art Galleries, New York, April 16-17, 1929, Davies estate sale, lot 402, to C. W. Kraushaar Galleries, New York. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948), New York, by 1934 [all provenance according to New York 1991]; bequeathed to the Art Institute, 1949 [on loan to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1949-1999; accessioned by the Art Institute, 1999].

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