Georges Seurat A Field of Alfalfa, Saint-Denis (La Luzerne, Saint-Denis) 1884 - 1885


Born 1859
Died 1891
Nationality French
Birth place Paris
Death place Paris

Seurat's distinctive paintings, famous for their 'pointillism', are often described as neo-impressionist in style. This refers to their links with, but also their development away from, Impressionism. Supported by his family and free from financial worries, Seurat studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. While sharing the Impressionists' fascination with translating light effects into paint through vibrant colour he felt that their compositions lacked structure. He was also interested in achieving a more scientific and rational approach to painting and devised the technique of using small dots of unmixed colour side by side to produce an 'optical mixture.'

Glossary terms

Glossary terms


An offshoot of Impressionism in which light effects were subject to a greater methodical analysis and paintings were composed with greater formality. Artists associated with this movement include Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and Camille Pissarro


A broad-ranging term covering the variety of painting styles that emerged in the wake of Impressionism in Europe, particularly in France. The most prominent artists to arise from the group are Georges Seurat, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.


The painting technique in which dots of colour are applied to create optical effects. This technique was developed by Neo-impressionist painters such as Georges Seurat and Paul Signac who used the term 'Divisionism' to describe their theories of colour separation on which the technique is based. The two terms are frequently used interchangeably.