Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte is one of the most beloved paintings at the Art Institute. Visitors marvel at its scale (it's over 10 feet wide!), the pointillist technique Seurat used to create it (little dots make up the whole painting!), and just the sheer fact that they're seeing it in person (it doesn't just exist in reproductions?!).
But later this month, we'll be asking you to think about this seemingly familiar painting in a different way. It will be moving from its home in the Impressionist galleries to the special exhibition Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity where we'll encourage you to learn the answer to the question: why is everyone dressed just so? What are we able to tell about these characters from their attire? And how would they have appeared to people in 1884? Were they in style? Passé?
Spoiler alert: the woman on the right was quite en vogue. Scientific analysis has shown us that Seurat increased the size of her bustle several times during the two years he worked on this painting keeping her very on trend. She also wears a bodice with a tiny waist, kid gloves pulled up to the edge of her sleeves, and a parasol with a ribbon, all of which would have been considered very chic.
Image Credit: Georges Seurat. A Sunday on La Grande Jatte -- 1884, 1884-1886. Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.
1 day 3 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SOON—Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem
Two major figures in American art and literature aim to make the black experience visible in postwar America.
Closing August 28—http://bit.ly/2aQrnYd
1 day 7 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago It is believed Van Dyck never intended for the early stages of his etchings to be circulated and was surprised by their immediate popularity in the art market. Finding success at a time when artists didn’t usually show works in progress, these “unfinished” prints helped set the stage for the more recent popularity of works that reveal the creative process. See the prints that altered conventions in Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and the Portrait Print—closing August 7.
2 days 2 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago #TBT 1983: The museum held an exhibition for the collection of Jalane and Richard Davidson, Chicago collectors of contemporary American realist drawings. Acknowledged at the time for collecting against prevailing art world trends, they amassed a comprehensive collection of work spanning the careers of both well-known artists—like Jack Beal, pictured here with Jalane herself and a portrait he made of her—and lesser-known Midwestern artists. The entire Davidson collection was bequeathed to the museum and saw another exhibition devoted to it in 1999.