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Artwork of the Week – George Seurat

Liverpool artwork of the week 2009-9. ‘White Houses, Ville D’Avray’, 1882 -83, George Seurat (1859-1891) Oil on canvas at Lady Lever ‘French Impressionists‘ 20 February – 31 May 2009

This oil sketch was painted early in Seurat’s short career. Its simple composition and flattened geometric quality contrasts with a complex use of colour.

Although initially inspired by the Impressionist use of colour, Seurat developed a growing interest in scientific colour theory, particularly the use of flecks of complementary colours to create optical effects. This is most evident here in the foliage on the right.

Seurat later developed this ‘divisionist’ technique more scientifically, using dots of pure colour. As a result, his work eventually lost the spontaneity of the Impressionist style.

This painting is part of the Walker Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

Purchased in 1961 with the help of The Art Fund and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund.