Georges Seurat was born in Paris and educated at the Ecole des Beaux-arts. His early paintings were small Impressionist landscapes, but he quickly rejected the soft, irregular brushstroke in favor of pointillism, a technique he developed where the forms are constructed by the application of small dots of unmixed color to a white background.
Seurat derived Pointillism from his studies of contemporary theories of optics. The color was to mix in the eye of the viewer rather than on the canvas. From 1885 until his death, this method of painting was applied to every canvas, in varying degrees, large and small. He maintained the Impressionist tradition of painting outdoors, but rather than a fleeting moment, Seurat captures a spirit of monumental reality filtered by his unique technique.
Seurat's art is an astonishing achievement because he was just twenty-five when he painted La Grande Jatte, and he completed only six large paintings. What is remarkable, beside the perfection of his masterworks, is the historical accomplishment. It resolved a crisis in painting and opened the way to new possibilities. Seurat built upon a dying classic tradition and upon the Impressionists.