Seurat and Matisse: Influence, Tradition, and the Legacy of Divisionism

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Justin Earp (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Seth McCormick

Abstract: In a historical context, Georges Seurat is and will always be regarded as the quintessential divisionist painter. He launched an artistic revolution, beginning with his work to establish a radically new style to close out the nineteenth century, and continuing into his indirect influence on Henri Matisse, who helped to revolutionize twentieth century art and beyond. Seurat was a diligent worker who left nothing to chance in constructing his work. He studied and grinded through every minute detail of the process, and if it were not for this diligence, we may not have seen neo-impressionism become the juggernaut of a movement that we know it as today. Seurat’s influence on his contemporaries was clear, as he was able to amass a group of artists who adopted his style and artistic ideals. It is difficult to say just how much differently the story of twentieth century art might have been told if Matisse never delved into Seurat’s ideals, but it is safe to say that art history would have been changed. Whatever the reasons for Matisse’s decision to begin the Fauvist movement are largely irrelevant to the fact that Seurat’s influence challenged Matisse to learn more about himself as an artist. His trials and tribulations through divisionism guided him toward an outlet of expression that he had been searching for all along. It helped him find freedom and originality, and many artists who followed would be greatly influenced. In this exhibit, I explore that influence and relate the same artistic ideals to my own work in divisionism and neo-impressionism.

Additional Information

Painting exhibit and paper submitted to the Research and Scholarship Conference, Western Carolina University.
Language: English
Date: 2020

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