Study for 'La Grande Jatte'

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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This is one of the earliest studies for A Sunday on La Grande Jatte of 1884–6 (Art Institute of Chicago), and was very likely painted on location. As this sketch was painted in the morning, the sunlight and shadows are the reverse of other studies and of the final painting itself, which shows the island in the afternoon. Shining from the south-east, the sun lights up the foreground. The middle ground is in shade because the sunlight cannot penetrate the dense overhead foliage. Despite the extensive shaded areas, Seurat has used touches of golden-yellow throughout. These provide a warm tone and unify the composition. Although Seurat has included several figures, his focus here is on the colours of the grassy area that fills almost three-quarters of the picture.

The National Gallery, London



Study for 'La Grande Jatte'




Oil on wood


H 16 x W 25 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Presented by Heinz Berggruen, 1995

Work type



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