010310: Georges Seurat – Figure in Space

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt Georges Seurat – Figure in Space 04.02.10 – 09.05.10 In the Pixelfield of Modernism As desensitized and unfailingly well-informed people, we are not easily irritated by classic modernist paintings. As long as they don’t not involve George Seurat. Maybe because we walked past his works much too fast in the Metropolitan or in the National Gallery in London. Or maybe because Seurat’s pixel-paintings on posters and in motion picture animations have already destroyed all feeling for them. At the Frankfurt Schirn Kunsthalle the work of Seurat, who is considered the mastermind of pointillism, surprise with their remarkably small dimensions. “La Tour Eiffel” (1889) is no larger than a legal notepad. Seurat’s drawings, together with the typical impressionist themes of leisure-outings to river banks, boats, sailors or fishers on small wooden tablets, create an unusually intimate exhibition that invite to stroll slowly through the exhibition. The limited measurements of his paintings result from Seurat’s work with the – at that time - popular “Boites à Pouce” (small paint box). With reference to the Croquis used at the Ècole des Beaux-Arts, Seurat named his typical small sketches “Croquetons”. With their format of 16 x 25 they fit perfectly into the lid of his folding paint box and were easy to carry around; even if the colours had not yet dried. Seurat frequently painted directly onto a wooden tablet without applying a white grounding. Numerous sequences of the exhibition “Figure in Space” shown in Frankfurt, which was organized together with the Kunsthalle Zurich to commemorate his 150th birthday, are therefore characterized by brown background tones. The exhibition at the Frankfurt Schirn presents some of his main works such as “Le cirque” (1890/91) or pre-studies for the famous painting “Un Dimanche à la Grande Jatte”, and thereby sets important marks. Even in seemingly incidental sketches it is easy to recognize how Seurat achieved effects of space and light with shadings and geometric elements. In the exhibition catalogue, Gottfried Boehm describes his textures as “revolutionary”. It therefore seems natural that Seurat, on the basis of the newest natural scientific cognitions about colour theory and the physiology of light, developed this analytic way to paint, which – as pointillism - extended the art of modernism in an epoch-making way. He portrayed the Eifel Tower while it was still under construction, and, as the tower was incomplete, its shape disappears mysteriously towards the upper end. The artist died of diphtheria at the early age of 31. In George Seurat’s oeuvre the image of this triumphant technical achievement and the innovation flow into one another on canvas. By Roland Schöny Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Römerberg email: welcome@schirn.de http://www.shirn.de Opening hours: Tue – Sun 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Wed – Sat 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
60311 Frankfurt am Main, Römerberg
Email: welcome@schirn.de
Öffnungszeiten: Di - So 11.00-19.00 Uhr, Mi - Sa 11.00-22.00 uhr

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