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A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884

Large painting of people in a crowded park, brushstrokes are dots.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Large painting of people in a crowded park, brushstrokes are dots.




Georges Seurat
French, 1859-1891

About this artwork

In his best-known and largest painting, Georges Seurat depicted people from different social classes strolling and relaxing in a park just west of Paris on La Grande Jatte, an island in the Seine River. Although he took his subject from modern life, Seurat sought to evoke the sense of timelessness associated with ancient art, especially Egyptian and Greek sculpture. He once wrote, “I want to make modern people, in their essential traits, move about as they do on those friezes, and place them on canvases organized by harmonies of color.”

Seurat painted A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884 using pointillism, a highly systematic and scientific technique based on the hypothesis that closely positioned points of pure color mix together in the viewer’s eye. He began work on the canvas in 1884 (and included this date in the title) with a layer of small, horizontal brushstrokes in complementary colors. He next added a series of dots that coalesce into solid and luminous forms when seen from a distance. Sometime before 1889 Seurat added a border of blue, orange, and red dots that provide a visual transition between the painting’s interior and the specially designed white frame, which has been re-created at the Art Institute.


On View, Gallery 240


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Georges Seurat


A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Inscribed at lower right: Seurat


207.5 × 308.1 cm (81 3/4 × 121 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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