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The Path of Nature: Scenic Routes

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Gray Weather, Grande Jatte

Georges Seurat (French, Paris 1859–1891 Paris)

Date:
ca. 1886–88
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
27 3/4 x 34 in. (70.5 x 86.4 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 2002, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002
Accession Number:
2002.62.3
  • Gallery Label

    This view extends from the island of La Grande Jatte, framed by trees, to the red-roofed houses of the Paris suburb of either Asnières or Courbevoie across the Seine. Seurat had earlier celebrated this stretch of the river with his ambitious compositions Bathers at Asnières (1883–84, National Gallery, London) and A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1884–86, Art Institute of Chicago). Here he sought "to transcribe most exactly the vivid outdoor clarity [of nature] in all its nuances" using a technique known as Divisionism (also called Pointillism). The painted border was added shortly before the picture was first exhibited in 1889.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (lower left): Seurat

  • Provenance

    Alexandre Séon, Paris (after April 1890–at least 1912; gift of the artist); [Walther Halvorsen, Paris, until summer 1921; sold for Fr 28,000 to Quinn]; John Quinn, New York (1921–d. 1924); his sister, Julia Quinn Anderson, New York (from 1924); her daughter, Mary Anderson Conroy, San Mateo, Calif. (until d. 1970); her widower, Dr. Thomas F. Conroy, San Mateo, Calif. (1970–71; sold on October 14, 1971 to Wildenstein); [Wildenstein, New York, 1971–72; sold on February 8, 1972 to Annenberg]; Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, Rancho Mirage, Calif. (1972–2002; jointly with MMA, 2002–his d. 2002)

  • Exhibition History

    Brussels. Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. "La VIme exposition des XX," February 1889, no. 3 (as "Temps gris").

    Pavillon de la Ville de Paris. "Salon des Indépendants (6e exposition)," March 20–April 27, 1890, no. 733 (as "Temps gris. Grande-Jatte").

    Pavillon de la Ville de Paris. "Salon des Indépendants (8e exposition)," March 19–April 27, 1892, no. 1091 (as "Temps gris à la Grande-Jatte," lent by M. Séon).

    Brussels. Musée d'Art Moderne. "Exposition des peintres impressionnistes," February 25–March 29, 1904, no. 148 (as "Temps gris; île de la Grande-Jatte," lent by M. Alexandre Séon).

    Grandes Serres de la Ville de Paris (Cours-la-Reine). "Société des Artistes Indépendants, 21me exposition, rétrospective Georges Seurat," March 24–April 30, 1905, no. 41 (as "Temps gris à la Grande Jatte," lent by Alexandre Séon).

    New York. Sculptors' Gallery. "Contemporary French Art," March 24–April 10, 1921, no. 119 (as "Landscape," lent by John Quinn).

    New York. Joseph Brummer. "Georges Seurat," December 4–27, 1924, no. 16 (as "Paysage," lent by the Estate of John Quinn).

    New York. Jacques Seligmann. "Exhibition of French Masters from Courbet to Seurat," March 22–April 17, 1937, no. 23 (as "Paysage," lent anonymously).

    San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "French 19th-Century Painting," August 14–November 5, 1971, no catalogue.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 21–September 17, 1989, unnumbered cat. (as "Gray Weather, Grande Jatte").

    Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 6–August 5, 1990, unnumbered cat.

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," August 16–November 11, 1990, unnumbered cat.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," June 4–October 13, 1991, unnumbered cat. [transferred to Exh. New York 1991–92 in September 1991].

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Georges Seurat, 1859–1891," September 24, 1991–January 12, 1992, no. 173 (as "Temps gris à la Grande Jatte," lent by the Honorable and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg) [returned to lender in October 1991].

  • References

    Octave Maus. "Le Salon des XX, à Bruxelles." La Cravache parisienne (February 16, 1889), p. 1.

    Jules Christophe. "Georges Seurat." Les Hommes d'aujourd'hui 8 (March–April 1890), unpaginated.

    Georges Lecomte. "Société des artistes indépendants." L'Art moderne 10 (March 30, 1890), p. 101.

    Charles Angrand. Letter to Lucie Cousturier. July 4, 1912 [published in Charles Angrand, "Correspondances, 1883–1926", ed. François Lespinasse, Rouen, 1988, p. 241], mentions it as a landscape owned by Séon.

    Maximilien Luce. Letter to Signac. 1916 or 1917 [excerpt published in Ref. Herbert 1991, p. 261], describes it as a landscape of Asnières with the boat "la Félicité".

    Johan H. Langaard. "Georges Seurat." Kunst og Kultur 9 (1921), ill. p. 37, as in the collection of Walther Halvorsen.

    John Quinn. Letter to Gwen John. August 29, 1921 [see Ref. Langdale 1987, pp. 49, 127 n. 25], inquires whether John she admired it.

    André Lhote. Georges Seurat, avec 32 réproductions en phototypie. Rome, 1922, unpaginated, ill., as a view of the Seine.

    John Quinn. Letter to Henri Pierre Roché. May 1, 1922 [unpublished typescript copy, The John Quinn Collection of Letters (1902–1924), Frick Art Reference Library, New York], remarks that he bought this painting from Halvorsen the previous summer for Fr 28,000.

    Walter Pach. Georges Seurat. New York, 1923, unpaginated, ill.

    Gustave Coquiot. Seurat. Paris, 1924, p. 248, ill. opp. p. 168.

    John Quinn, 1870–1925: Collection of Paintings, Water Colors, Drawings & Sculpture. Huntington, N.Y., 1926, p. 15.

    Bruno E. Werner. "George [sic] Seurat." Die Kunst 65 (February 1932), ill. p. 150.

    Daniel Catton Rich. Seurat and the Evolution of "La Grande Jatte". Chicago, 1935, p. 61, no. 23, calls it "The River Bank of La Grande Jatte" and dates it 1886.

    Robert J. Goldwater. "Some Aspects of the Development of Seurat's Style." Art Bulletin 23 (June 1941), p. 125, fig. 18, dates it 1885.

    John Rewald. Georges Seurat. 2nd rev. ed. [1st ed., 1943]. New York, 1946, fig. 85, dates it about 1887.

    Paul F. Schmidt. "Georges Seurat." Die Kunst und das schöne Heim 47 (July 1949), ill. p. 142.

    Jacques de Laprade. Seurat. Paris, 1951, ill. p. 58, as in a private collection; dates it 1887.

    Henri Dorra and John Rewald. Seurat: L'œuvre peint, biographie et catalogue critique. Paris, 1959, pp. 238–39, no. 190, ill., call it "Temps gris, Grand-Jatte," and date it 1888; question whether the painted border was added by the artist.

    C[ésar]. M[ange]. de Hauke. Seurat et son œuvre. Paris, 1961, vol. 1, pp. 132–33, no. 177, ill., dates it about 1887.

    Louis Hautecœur. Georges Seurat. Milan, 1972, ill. p. 47 (color).

    Fiorella Minervino in L'opera completa di Seurat. [1st, French ed., 1973]. Milan, 1972, pp. 104–5, no. 178, ill., states that the painted border was a later addition, possibly by a hand other than Seurat.

    Judith Zilczer. "The Noble Buyer:" John Quinn, Patron of the Avant-Garde. Exh. cat., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, 1978, pp. 52, 185–86, dates it about 1887; notes that it was owned by Quinn's sister, Julia Quinn Anderson.

    Richard Thomson. Seurat. Oxford, 1985, p. 136, notes that it was exhibited with "Banks of the Seine (Island of the Grande-Jatte)" of 1888 (Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; H176) at the exhibition of Les Vingt in 1889 [Exh. Brussels 1889].

    Cecily Langdale. Gwen John: With a Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings and a Selection of the Drawings. New Haven, 1987, p. 127 n. 25.

    Catherine Grenier. Seurat: Catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1990, p. 114, no. 177, ill., dates it 1887.

    John Rewald. Seurat: A Biography. New York, 1990, ill. p. 172 (color), dates it 1888.

    Anne Distel. Seurat. [Paris], 1991, pp. 154, 158, no. 14, ill., dates it 1887.

    Robert L. Herbert et al. Georges Seurat, 1859–1891. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1991, pp. 258, 260–61, 409–10, no. 173, ill. (color) [French ed., "Seurat", Paris, 1991, pp. 299–300, no. 172, ill. (color)], dates it 1886–87; states that the painted border, which was painted over a white ground, was added about 1888–89; calls it "virtually a pendant" to "Bridge at Courbevoie" of 1886 (Courtauld Gallery, London; H178).

    Joseph J. Rishel in Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 68–71, 176–77, ill. (color and black and white), dates it 1887 or later, stating that Seurat began experimenting with painted borders in 1887; notes that Seurat gave it the unusually descriptive title "Gray Weather"; does not believe that the border was added at a later date.

    Richard Tilston. Seurat. London, 1991, pp. 134, 146, ill. (color), dates it 1888.

    Gary Tinterow. "Miracle au Met." Connaissance des arts no. 472 (June 1991), p. 38.

    Michael F. Zimmermann. Seurat and the Art Theory of His Time. Antwerp, 1991, pp. 440–42, 475 n. 148, fig. 595 (color), notes the high perspective from which the painter views the "Seine water-meadow" and describes the scene as "a summer landscape wet from rain".

    Sarah Carr-Gomm. Seurat. London, 1993, pp. 114–15, ill. (color), dates it about 1888; states that the steamer "La Félicité" was probably a pleasure craft and that the prows of the river boats to the left display the flags of their boat club or leasing agency; comments that the high viewpoint is unusual in Seurat's compositions.

    Matthias Waschek in In Perfect Harmony: Picture + Frame, 1850–1920. Exh. cat., Van Gogh Museum. Amsterdam, 1995, pp. 156, 158, fig. 139 (color), calls it "Rainy Day on the Island of La Grande Jatte" and dates it 1886–87; agrees with Herbert [see Ref. 1991] that the painted border was added later; remarks that although the border and image are clearly separated, they are related through color.

    Susan Alyson Stein in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2001–2002." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 60 (Fall 2002), pp. 5, 33, ill. (color), calls the Parisian suburb visible across the Seine either Asnières or Courbevoie.

    Robert L. Herbert et al. Seurat and the Making of "La Grande Jatte". Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 2004, pp. 96, 132–33, ill. (color).

    Sylvie Patry in Le Néo-impressionnisme de Seurat à Paul Klee. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 2005, p. 144, dates it 1887–88.

    Susan Alyson Stein in Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 180, 303, no. 167, ill. (color and black and white).

    Joseph J. Rishel in Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 237–43, no. 44, ill. (color), dates it about 1886–88, suggesting it may be slightly later than "Bridge at Courbevoie" in London and "The Seine at La Grande Jatte" in Brussels; states that recent x-radiography proves that Seurat restretched this canvas to add the painted border sometime before Exh. Brussels 1889.

    R[ichard]. S[hone]. "Supplement: Acquisitions (2000–10) of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York." Burlington Magazine 152 (December 2010), p. 844, fig. XV (color).



  • Notes

    The steamboat "la Félicité," probably a pleasure craft, is shown moored just offshore in this picture. The small boats to the left display flags possibly identifying their rowing clubs.

  • See also
438015

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