The Gardener

Georges Seurat (French, Paris 1859–1891 Paris)
Oil on wood
6 1/4 x 9 3/4 in. (15.9 x 24.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876–1967), 1967
Accession Number:
Not on view
Although Seurat is best known for his scenes of urban life, many of his paintings of 1881–84 depict rural laborers and landscapes. He initially favored an earth-toned palette reminiscent of the work of earlier painters of the countryside, such as Jean-François Millet. However, the bright hues of this picture reflect Seurat’s growing interest in Impressionist techniques and his reading of treatises on color, especially the American Ogden Rood’s Modern Chromatics (published in English in 1879, and in French in 1881).
private collection, Paris; Louis Vauxcelles, Paris; [Jacques Rodrigues-Henriques, Paris, 1928–29]; Adelaide Milton de Groot, New York (by 1936–d. 1967; on loan to MMA, 1936–46)
Art Institute of Chicago. "Seurat: Paintings and Drawings," January 16–March 7, 1958, no. 33 (as "Figure in a Field").

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Seurat: Paintings and Drawings," March 24–May 11, 1958, no. 33.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Painter's Light," October 5–November 10, 1971, no. 31.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Van Gogh as Critic and Self-Critic," October 30, 1973–January 6, 1974, no. 39.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Impressionism: A Centenary Exhibition," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, not in catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Seurat: Drawings and Oil Sketches from New York Collections," September 29–November 27, 1977, no. 47.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Georges Seurat, 1859–1891," September 24, 1991–January 12, 1992, no. 94.

Kunsthaus Zürich. "Georges Seurat: Figure in Space," October 2, 2009–January 17, 2010, no. 25.

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. "Georges Seurat: Figure in Space," February 4–May 9, 2010, no. 25.

Adolphe Basler. "Le Problème de la forme depuis Cézanne (Premier article)." L'Amour de l'art 11 (September 1930), ill. p. 363.

Daniel Catton Rich, ed. Seurat: Paintings and Drawings. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1958, p. 28, no. 33, dates it about 1882.

Henri Dorra and John Rewald. Seurat: L'œuvre peint, biographie et catalogue critique. Paris, 1959, p. 47, no. 48, ill., date it about 1882.

C. M. de Hauke. Seurat et son œuvre. Paris, 1961, vol. 1, pp. 62–63, no. 101, ill., dates it about 1884.

John Walsh Jr. The Painter's Light. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1971, p. 13, no. 31, dates it about 1884.

Fiorella Minervino in L'opera completa di Seurat. [1st, French ed., 1973]. Milan, 1972, p. 94, no. 47, ill., dates it 1883.

Charles S. Moffett. Van Gogh as Critic and Self-Critic. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1973, unpaginated, no. 39, dates it about 1884.

Lydie Huyghe in René Huyghe. La Relève du réel: la peinture française au XIXe siècle: impressionnisme, symbolisme. Paris, 1974, p. 231, fig. 202, date it 1883.

Claudia Gianferrari, ed. Metropolitan Museum, New York. Milan, 1983, p. 155, ill. p. 125.

Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 222, 254, ill. (color), notes that this painting was executed on the wooden lid of a cigar box.

Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat. Seurat. New York, 1990, pp. 21, 41, ill. p. 37 (color), dates it about 1882.

Catherine Grenier. Seurat: Catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1990, fig. 48, dates it 1883.

Michael F. Zimmermann. Seurat and the Art Theory of His Time. Antwerp, 1991, p. 87, colorpl. 125, dates it about 1883–84; notes that the same figure appears in the oil study "Figure in a Meadow" of about 1883 (private collection; DH61).

Robert L. Herbert et al. Georges Seurat, 1859–1891. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1991, pp. 105–6, 134–35, 139, 433, no. 94, ill. (color) [French ed., "Seurat," Paris, 1991, pp. 146, 169–71, 174, no. 93, ill. (color, reversed)], dates it "probably from the end of the 1882–83 period"; believes it recalls Millet, despite its bright palette.

Robert L. Herbert. Seurat: Drawings and Paintings. New Haven, 2001, pp. 26, 72–73, 78–81, colorpl. 59 and frontispiece (color detail), dates it 1882–83.