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 10 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—Kemang Wa Lehulere: In All My Wildest Dreams
Artist Kemang Wa Lehulere describes his work as a “protest against forgetting,” reenacting what he calls “deleted scenes” from South African history through a masterful conflation of personal and collective storytelling. See his first American museum show, In All My Wildest Dreams—on view through January 16.
1 day 15 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—A new photography rotation showcases groundbreaking Contemporary works from artists like John Baldessari, Sally Mann, Chuck Close, Barbara Kruger, among others—on view in Gallery 10 through January 2.
Image: Richard Misrach. Untitled #696–05, from series On the Beach, 2005. Gift of the artist.
2 days 11 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Toulouse-Lautrec’s work increased the visibility of lesbians in 19th-century Paris, portraying them in a sympathetic light when prevailing perceptions were anything but favorable.