Aman-Jean (Portrait of Edmond François Aman-Jean)

Artist: Georges Seurat (French, Paris 1859–1891 Paris)

Date: 1882–83

Medium: Conté crayon on Michallet paper

Dimensions: 24 1/2 × 18 11/16 in. (62.2 × 47.5 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960

Accession Number: 61.101.16


Seurat's study of his friend the artist Aman-Jean (1858–1936) is one of the great portrait drawings of the nineteenth century. A remarkably assured work for a young artist, it was shown in the Paris Salon of 1883 shortly after Seurat's twenty-third birthday. Aman-Jean and Seurat knew each other as students at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Following their studies, they took a studio together, and it was there that Aman-Jean posed for this portrait. Aman-Jean kept the drawing, and referred to it many years later in a letter to Seurat's biographer as "a very beautiful portrait of me." Seurat chose a classic profile pose for his sitter, sensitively portraying the artist with brush in hand and a facial expression of deep concentration. Seurat deftly used conté crayon in tonal gradations from the darkest black to the softest gray, culminating in the luminescent white of the unmarked paper.