Seurat’s Drawings

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I believe that you paint the way you draw and Seurat’s drawings are an example of that. Georges Seurat famous for the Pointillist style of painting, also made around 400 beautiful tonal drawings and studies. His black contè drawings make excellent use of massing up of values (tones) with just enough detail. Seurat’s drawings had a masterful foggy quality of light and shade in them. His favorite drawing medium was Conté crayon in pencil and stick forms, on Michallet paper. Michallet was a high-quality laid paper made by hand with a special texture created by a web of vertical and horizontal lines. This texture helped give a Pointillist quality to his drawings.

Notice the way the cloak, background and hair are unified into a single value. There are no outlines anywhere, just shifts in tones and lights contrasted by darks. The face and hands have enough detail to convey that the drawing is of a woman sewing.

Madame Seurat, the Artist’s Mother, about 1882–83, Georges Seurat. Conté crayon on Michallet paper

This is one of the more academic drawings of Seurat with beautiful tonal rendering and delicate line work.

An Indian Man, about 1878–79, Georges Seurat. Graphite, 19 1/16 x 11 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum

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