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There we were, meandering around the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  As well as seeing work by several other of my favourite artists’, I’d had the chance to view a couple of my favourite Monet‘s pieces – ‘Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lillies‘ and ‘Water Lillies‘, as well as a Van Gogh I really liked, so was feeling pretty darned great!

Then I wandered through to one of the other galleries and stumbled on this.

George Seurat's 'Study for A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

My husband Mike is rather fond of Georges Seurat’s work. We’d seen some of his other pieces at MoMA on a previous visits, but he always said he’d love to have seen what’s probably one of Seurat’s most famous ones – ‘Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’.

There was a rather excited ‘Mike!  Mike!  Look what’s here!!!’ – his face actually lit up when he saw the painting.

The title of this post alludes to something that had been tugging at the back of my mind though.  The picture wasn’t as ‘crisp’ as I remembered images of it on the internet – where were all the millions of tiny precise dots – a form now known as ‘pointillism‘ – we’d seen in other pieces (as well as hearing alot about in the fabulous Sondheim musical ‘Sunday In The Park With George’!). Also, where was the beautiful frame of dots characteristic of other pieces we’d seen?  And who on earth had put THAT frame around it…?

Well all became apparent during my research for my post.

It’s not the original – it’s one of his ‘studies’ for the final piece.  The original’s home is at the Art Institute of Chicago, framed exactly as I imagined it would be.

To make the experience of the painting even more vivid, he surrounded it with a frame of painted dots, which in turn he enclosed with a pure white, wooden frame, which is how the painting is exhibited today at the Art Institute of Chicago.

My close-up of one of my favourite parts of the composition shows it isn’t the finished work in its ‘pointillism‘ form…

A close-up taken of the study, hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

A close-up taken of the study, hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

(If you’re interested, here’s a link to the final piece.  I know, you’re probably wondering how I managed to think the study was the final piece – put it down to youthful enthusiasm 🙂 )

It doesn’t detract from the absolute joy on Mike’s face at seeing this ‘study’ – and mine in fact!  I actually think it gave us as much pleasure as seeing the original would have!

You never know, it might add to the growing list of reasons for us to go visit Chicago – we’ll have seen the ‘before’ and ‘after’ with our own eyes 🙂

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