Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Embroidery; The Artist's Mother

Artist:
Georges Seurat (French, Paris 1859–1891 Paris)
Date:
1882–83
Medium:
Conté crayon on Michallet paper
Dimensions:
12 5/16 x 9 7/16 in. (31.2 x 24.1 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1951; acquired from The Museum of Modern Art, Lillie P. Bliss Collection
Accession Number:
55.21.1
Not on view
Paul Signac described Georges Seurat's penumbral conté crayon drawings as "the most beautiful painter's drawings that ever existed." This tranquil portrait of the artist's mother, shown sewing, has a seventeenth-century equivalent in Johannes Vermeer's painting The Lacemaker, which hung in the Louvre for Seurat's admiration. In pose and configuration, serenity and concentration, these domestic matrons share attributes, centuries apart. Seurat's sheet is a tour de force of modeling in conté crayon, drawn as it is entirely without line in tonal passages of velvety black. Scarce atmospheric light illuminates the interior, a device introduced by the withdrawal of crayon from the stark white paper. The sheet carries an abstract beauty in its mystery and silence. The distant self-containment of Seurat's portrait is more an expression of quiet domesticity than an evocation of family intimacy.


Collection of the Louvre, France: Johannes Vermeer, The Lacemaker

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Broderie

La Brodeuse

Woman Sewing

La Mère de Seurat

La Mère de l'Artiste

Portrait de Madame Seurat

Mme Ernestine Seurat (French)until at least 1892 and probably until 1899; Émile Seurat (French, 1891–1906)the artist's brother, until his death in 1906; Mme veuve Émile Seurat (French)from 1906; Félix Fénéon (French (born Italy), Turin 1861–1944 Châtenay-Malabry)by 1926, until 1929; De Hauke & Co., New York, for Jacques Seligmann & Co., Jan - Oct 1929[stock no. 1329]; Lizzie Plummer Bliss, Oct. 1929 until her death in 1931; Bliss Bequest to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, until purchase by MMA in 1951
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Mitsuhiko Kuroe Pissarro–Sisley–Seurat. Shueisha, Japan, 1973, fig. no. 4, p. 99, ill.

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Hideji Takashima P. Cézanne, Seurat. Holp Shuppan, Tokyo, 1973, Section 8.

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Alexandrian, Alice Sachs Seurat. Crown Point Press, See also editions published by Flammarion, Paris, 1980 and 1990; Bonfini, Näfels, 1980; Easton Press, Norwalk, CT, 1983, 1993, Südwest Verlag, München, 1981., 1st U.S. edition of French original text (pub. Flammarion, 1980). 1980, p. 96 (list of illustrations), pp. 20, 26-7, 93, ill.

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Richard Thomson Seurat. Phaidon Press, Oxford, 1985, fig. no. pl. 1, pp. 9, 10, ill.

Herbert Wotte Georges Seurat, Wesen, Werk, Wirkung. VEB Verlag der Kunst, Dresden, 1988, cat. no. 23, 145, fig. no. 31, ill.

Seurat und sein Kreis. Exh. cat., Salzburg, Galerie Salis, 'Festspielaustellung', 1989. Galerie Salis, Salzburg, 1989.

Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat, Jean-Marie Clarke Seurat. Editions Albert Skira (Geneva), Rizzoli (New York), French & English eds. published simultaneously by Skira &Rizzoli. Geneva and New York, 1990, pp. 12-13, ill.

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Françoise Cachin Seurat et le rêve de l'art-science. Librairie Gallimard, Réunion des Musées Nationaux , Peinture, Paris, 1991, p. 138 (table of illustrations), fig. no. 14hd, pp. 14-15, ill.

Anne Distel Seurat. Chêne, Switzerland?, 1991, p. 158 (chronology), fig. no. 2, pp. 8, 47, ill.

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Robert L. Herbert, Françoise Cachin, Anne Distel, Susan Alyson Stein, Gary Tinterow Georges Seurat, 1859-1891. Exh. cat., Paris, Grand Palais, 9 April 1991 - 12 August 1991, and MMA, 24 September 1991 - 12 January 1992. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, English version; French version also published. New York, 1991-1992, cat. no. 32, pp. 51-52, ill.

Éric Darragon Seurat, Correspondances, témoignages, notes inédites, critiques. Texts chosen by Hélène Seyrès, Acropole, Paris, 1991, p. 85.

Maurizia Tazartes Seurat. Giunti, Art Dossier, no. 60, Florence, 1991, pp. 8, 9, ill.

Michael F. Zimmermann, Jérôme Ferry, Solange Schnall, Karin Fanny Williams Les Mondes de Seurat, son oeuvre et le débat artistique de son temps. Fonds Mercator (Anvers), Albin Michel (Paris), French edition (also see German ed.). Antwerp and Paris, 1991, fig. no. 83, pp. 62, 63, ill.

Joseph C. Skrapits "Shades of Gray, The Drawings of Georges Seurat" American Artist. vol. 56, no. 596, New York, March 1992, p. 46, ill.

Linda Nochlin "Body Politics : Seurat's Poseuses." Art in America. Reprinted in Linda Nochlin - 'Representing Women', Thames and Hudson, 1999., vol. 82, no. 3, New York, March 1994, p. 121.

John Leighton, Richard Thomson Seurat and the Bathers. Accompanied exhibition 'Seurat and the Bathers' at the National Gallery, London, 2 July - 28 September 1997. National Gallery, London, Yale University Press, London, 1997, p. 120.

Linda Nochlin Representing Women. Thames and Hudson, Text is the same as Nochlin - "Body Politics: Seurat's Poseuses", in 'Art in America', vol. 82, no. 3, March 1994., 1999, p. 232.

Robert L. Herbert Seurat : Drawings and Paintings. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2001, pp. 31, 32, 34, 57-58, fig. no. 13, p. 29, ill.

Aurea Carmina Georges Seurat & La Tradition des Traces Harmoniques. Marseilles, 2003, p. 23, ill.

Marina Ferretti-Bocquillon Seurat et le dessin neo-impressionniste. Musée d'Orsay, Five Continents Editions, Paris and Milan, 2005, p. 7.

Jodi Hauptman, Richard Thomson, Richard Shiff, Karl Buchberg, Hubert Damisch, Bridget Riley George Seurat: The Drawings. Exh. cat. Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, 2007, cat. no. 36, p. 250, ill.



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