His Majesty the King opened the exhibition Seurat. Master of pointillism at the Kröller-Müller Museum
on 22 May. Georges Seurat (Paris 1859-1891) rose to prominence as the father of neo-impressionism. With his paintings composed of countless tiny dots or points of paint and his keen interest in scientific colour theories, he developed a new form of aesthetics.
During his short career, he died at the early age of thirty-one, Seurat painted about fifty works in this new style, with which he sought to depict the world around him reduced to its essence. He found the themes for his work in the modern Paris life and on the coast of northern France, where he spent his summers.
For the first time, the museum is showing the Seurat paintings from its own collection, such as the raucous Le Chahut and the tranquil seascapes of Honfleur, Port-en-Bessin and Gravelines, in a broader context.
The exhibition includes twenty-three of his paintings and twenty-four drawings. With forty works on loan from museums and private collectors from all over the world, this is the first time that such a comprehensive exhibition of Seurats painting and drawing oeuvre is showing in the Netherlands. Even Le Cirque, the last work that Seurat painted, is coming to Otterlo. This masterpiece from the collection of Musée dOrsay is loaned out very rarely.
Seurat had a strong influence on a whole generation of artists. Through his friend and colleague Paul Signac, neo-impressionism spread among artists in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, such as Maximilien Luce, Henry van de Velde, Théo van Rysselberghe and Jan Toorop. With some sixty works by these and other artists, the museum also reveals the influence of Seurats new style of painting.
The background of Seurats new painting style and his relation to his contemporaries is examined in more depth in the film Seurat. In search of the essence.
A complementary presentation shows the so-called Flatscreens by Dutch artist Ger van Elk. In these he transforms existing paintings, including neo-impressionist works by Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and Henri Edmond Cross, into moving images. Van Elks Snow over Seurat and Seurats La Grève de Bas-Butin à Honfleur, upon which it is based, can be seen simultaneously for the first time in this presentation.
To accompany Seurat. Master of pointillism, the museum is organizing an extensive side-programme for young and old, with (dance) workshops, concerts, theatre performances and artists in residence. A lavishly illustrated publication also accompanies the exhibition, entitled SEURAT, which places Georges Seurat in his time.
The exhibition is showing from 23 May to 7 September 2014.