A dad and his daughters, loving life in New York City

Monday, December 10

Georges Seurat: Drawings at the MoMA

I know what you're thinking. "Wait, a drawings show? I don't know.... sounds boring. Unfinished. Technical. For students and critics only."

OK, so you're probably more open-minded than me, and were thinking nothing of the sort.

But just in case, let me reassure you that the Georges Seurat exhibition now at the Museum of Modern Art features literally dozens of beautiful, memorable pieces that stand on their own—not as "studies" of anything—as complete, and in this case quite brilliant, works of art.

Yes, there are a number of pure sketches here, some from Seurat's early days as a student, more drawn by the artist in preparation for one of his big paintings. These are interesting for what they are, and the full-color "final practice round" of his pointillistic masterpiece Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte—all landscape, no people—looks amusingly like a photoshop experiment.

But it is Seurat's stand-alone works that are the real draw here. I've been to the exhibition twice, and can't get enough of his cafe series, the performers almost ghostly on stage, the audience's heads slightly in your way, all of it unbelievably evocative of dim, crowded, smoky clubs; or his landscapes, both rural and urban, as well as the more intimate portraits, and the way Seurat expresses an astonishing amount of movement, or energy, or emotion, not with lines, but through shadow, and negative space.

Georges Seurat: Drawings runs through January 7. The Museum of Modern Art is located on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. My apologies, as always on these museum posts, for the surreptitiously-snapped photographs.

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Blogger Tarun R said...

Thanks a lot for this. I was looking for examples of Seurat's early works and stumbled upon this blog finding exactly what I wanted.

1:10 PM, September 22, 2008


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