About This Artwork

Georges Seurat
French, 1859-1891

Trees (study for La Grande Jatte), 1884

Black Conté crayon, on white laid paper, laid down on cream board
620 x 475 mm

Helen Regenstein Collection, 1966.184

Trees is one of 40 studies Georges Seurat did for his masterpiece, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884. With these studies, the artist refined the individual elements of his composition so that together they would form a harmonious whole. Here he focused on the trees near the riverbank, using the rich tones of the conté crayon and the grainy paper surface to approximate the appearance of his paintings. In the final painting, Seurat combined the tree in the foreground and the one leaning out over the river in order to orient the composition toward the water.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Jaquemart-André, "Seurat," November-December 1957, no. 29

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Seurat: Paintings and Drawings," January 16-March 7, 1958, cat. 71, by Daniel Catton Rich; also traveled to New York, the Museum of Modern Art, March 24-May 11, 1958.

Paris, Musée Jaquemart-André, "Chef d’Oeuvre des Collections Françaises," 1961, no. 90.

Palm Beach, Fla., Society of Four Arts, "Drawings from The Art Institute of Chicago," January 5–27, 1974, cat. 42 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, "The Helen Regenstein Collection of European Drawings," 1974, pp. 164-65, cat. 81 (ill.), cat. by Harold Joachim.

Paris, Musée du Louvre, "Dessins français de l’Art Institute de Chicago de Watteau à Picasso," October 15, 1976-January 17, 1977, n.p., cat. 74 (ill.).

Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Städtische Galerie im Städelschen Kunstinstitut, "Französische Zeichnungen aus dem Art Institute of Chicago," February 10-April 10, 1977, pp. 142-43, cat. 68 (ill.).

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Great Drawings from The Art Institute of Chicago: The Harold Joachim Years 1958-1983," July 24-September 30, 1985, pp. 166-67, cat. 76 (ill.), cat. by Martha Tedeschi.

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Seurat," September 24, 1991-January 12, 1992, cat. 123, cat. by Robert L. Herbert; also traveled to Paris, the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, April 9-August 12, 1991.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Seurat and the Making of 'La Grande Jatte'," June 16-September 19, 2004, p. 71, cat. 45 (ill.).

Netherlands, Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, "Seurat: Master of Pointillism", May 23 - September 7, 2014, hors. cat.

Publication History

Robert L. Herbert, "Seurat in Chicago and New York," The Burlington Magazine C: 662 (May 1958), p. 151, no. 12 (ill.).

Henri Dorra and John Rewald, Seurat: l’oeuvre peint (Paris, 1959), p. 123, no. 116a (ill.).

Joseph Émile Muller, Seurat dessins (Paris, 1960), pl. 17.

Cesar de Hauke, Seurat et son oeuvre, 2 (Paris, 1961), p. 200, no. 619 (ill.).

Robert L. Herbert, Seurat’s Drawings (New York, 1962), pp. 110, 113 and 182, no. 98 (ill.).

John Russell, Seurat (New York, 1965), p. 139, no. 129.

John Maxon, The Art Institute of Chicago (London, 1970), pp. 160-161 (ill.).

Harold Joachim, French Drawings and Sketchbooks of the Nineteenth Century (Chicago, 1979), p. 97, no. 5F6.

Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat, Seurat (New York, 1990), p. 68.

Suzanne Folds McCullagh, "‘A Lasting Monument’: The Regenstein Collection at The Art Institute of Chicago,” The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 26, 1 (2000), p. 13.

Martha Tedeschi, “Study of Trees, 1884,” The Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 26, 1 (2000), pp. 82-83, cat. 36, fig. 28.

Ownership History

Seurat family [invoice]; by descent to Mme Léopold Appert, Paris [according to New York 1991]; Private Collection, Paris, by 1958-1966 [Chicago 1958; according to New York 1991]; sold to Wildenstein and Company New York, March 1966 [according to New York 1991]; sold to the Art Institute, 1966.

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