A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

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A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat

Painting NameA Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Painter NameGeorges Seurat
Completion Date1886
Place of CreationFrance, Paris
Size207.6 cm × 308 cm (81.7 in × 121.25 in)
Current LocationArt Institute of Chicago

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is a fine example of Georges Seurat’s pointillism. Painting took him two years to complete and during the first year he didn’t included the pointillism in the art work. He made the painting on the island of La Grande Jatte near Paris.


The painting is depicted in the style of pointillism which was called divisionism at the time of the execution. It is an assemblage of small dots and very small brush-strokes to create a full picture. If looked from a certain distant it creates a perfect picture. Though, at a closer look it seems to be just the collection colorful dots. Even the faces which seems to be having nose, eyes and lips seems distorted and uneven at the closer look.

According to the artist, the style requires the artist’s further ability to understand colors as the colors used in the dots are often different. Only the overall hue created from a certain distant is the final output or the output painter desired to create.

The boarder around the painting contrasts with the painting and changes at places to avoid the blend of colors in the painting with colors of the boarder.

It is one of the most famous artwork by George Seurat. It took him two years to complete it.

The location

The location of the painting is a real island named la Grande Jatte near Paris. Interestingly, the location was known to pick up prostitutes at the time. Maybe the woman fishing on the far left of the painting is a pun intended towards this fact.


Georges Seurat has depicted all the characters in unique ways. Most of them are in shadows except the girl in white frock in the middle of the painting. She seems to be seeing directly at the viewer.

Every other character is busy with some activity or is looking away somewhere. The woman on the right with an umbrella owns a monkey. Group of people on the lower left are laying around. People in far background are either enjoying the view, playing, sitting, standing or having a good, relaxing time.

Thus, instead of delivering some message through art or include some heavy meanings, artist has just tried to capture the beauty he saw around him.

This is Seurat’s best known work (and also best known work for pointillism probably) from late 19th century made with oil on canvas. It was purchased by Art Institue of Chicago in 1924 for $24,000.


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