Pointillism

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Detail from Seurat's Parade de cirque, 1889, showing the contrasting dots of paint which define Pointillism Seurat-La Parade detail.jpg
Detail from Seurat's Parade de cirque , 1889, showing the contrasting dots of paint which define Pointillism

Pointillism ( /ˈpwæ̃tɪlɪzəm/ , also US: /ˈpwɑːn-ˌˈpɔɪn-/ ) [1] is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.

Contents

Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism. The term "Pointillism" was coined by art critics in the late 1880s to ridicule the works of these artists, but is now used without its earlier pejorative connotation. [2] The movement Seurat began with this technique is known as Neo-impressionism. The Divisionists used a similar technique of patterns to form images, though with larger cube-like brushstrokes. [3]

Technique

The technique relies on the ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to blend the color spots into a fuller range of tones. It is related to Divisionism, a more technical variant of the method. Divisionism is concerned with color theory, whereas pointillism is more focused on the specific style of brushwork used to apply the paint. [2] It is a technique with few serious practitioners today and is notably seen in the works of Seurat, Signac, and Cross.

Paul Signac, Femmes au Puits, 1892, showing a detail with constituent colors. Musee d'Orsay, Paris Paul Signac Femmes au puits 1892detailcouleur.jpg
Paul Signac, Femmes au Puits, 1892, showing a detail with constituent colors. Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Henri-Edmond Cross, L'air du soir, c.1893, Musee d'Orsay Henri-Edmond Cross - The Evening Air - Google Art Project.jpg
Henri-Edmond Cross, L'air du soir, c.1893, Musée d'Orsay

From 1905 to 1907, Robert Delaunay and Jean Metzinger painted in a Divisionist style with large squares or 'cubes' of color: the size and direction of each gave a sense of rhythm to the painting, yet color varied independently of size and placement. [4] This form of Divisionism was a significant step beyond the preoccupations of Signac and Cross. In 1906, the art critic Louis Chassevent recognized the difference and, as art historian Daniel Robbins pointed out, used the word "cube" which would later be taken up by Louis Vauxcelles to baptize Cubism. Chassevent writes:

M. Metzinger is a mosaicist like M. Signac but he brings more precision to the cutting of his cubes of color which appear to have been made mechanically [...]. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Practice

The practice of Pointillism is in sharp contrast to the traditional methods of blending pigments on a palette. Pointillism is analogous to the four-color CMYK printing process used by some color printers and large presses that place dots of cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black). Televisions and computer monitors use a similar technique to represent image colors using Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) colors. [9]

If red, blue, and green light (the additive primaries) are mixed, the result is something close to white light (see Prism (optics)). Painting is inherently subtractive, but Pointillist colors often seem brighter than typical mixed subtractive colors. This may be partly because subtractive mixing of the pigments is avoided, and because some of the white canvas may be showing between the applied dots. [9]

The painting technique used for Pointillist color mixing is at the expense of the traditional brushwork used to delineate texture. [9]

The majority of Pointillism is done in oil paint. Anything may be used in its place, but oils are preferred for their thickness and tendency not to run or bleed. [10]

Music

Pointillism also refers to a style of 20th-century music composition. Different musical notes are made in seclusion, rather than in a linear sequence, giving a sound texture similar to the painting version of Pointillism. This type of music is also known as punctualism or klangfarbenmelodie.

Notable artists

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1887, using pointillist technique. VanGogh 1887 Selbstbildnis.jpg
Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1887, using pointillist technique.
Maximilien Luce, Morning, Interior, 1890, using pointillist technique. Morning, Interior - Luce.jpeg
Maximilien Luce, Morning, Interior, 1890, using pointillist technique.

Notable paintings

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>The Lagoon of Saint Mark, Venice</i> Painting by Paul Signac

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<i>Two Nudes in an Exotic Landscape</i> Painting by Jean Metzinger

Baigneuses: Deux nus dans un paysage exotique is an oil painting created circa 1905 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). Two Nudes in an Exotic Landscape is a Proto-Cubist work executed in a highly personal Divisionist style during the height of the Fauve period. The painting is part of Carmen Cervera's art collection and its exhibited in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid

<i>La danse, Bacchante</i> Painting by Jean Metzinger

La danse is an oil painting created circa 1906 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). Bacchante is a pre-Cubist or Proto-Cubist work executed in a highly personal Divisionist style during the height of the Fauve period. Bacchante was painted in Paris at a time when Metzinger and Robert Delaunay painted portraits of one another, exhibiting together at the Salon d'Automne and the Berthe Weill gallery. Bacchante was exhibited in Paris during the spring of 1907 at the Salon des Indépendants, along with Coucher de soleil and four other works by Metzinger.

<i>Coucher de soleil no. 1</i> Painting by Jean Metzinger

Coucher de soleil no. 1 is an oil painting created circa 1906 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). Coucher de soleil no. 1 is a work executed in a mosaic-like Divisionist style with a Fauve palette. The reverberating image of the Sun in Metzinger's painting is an homage to the decomposition of spectral light at the core of Neo-Impressionist color theory.

<i>Colored Landscape with Aquatic Birds</i> Painting by Jean Metzinger

Colored Landscape with Aquatic Birds is an oil painting created circa 1907 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger. Paysage coloré aux oiseaux aquatiques is a Proto-Cubist work executed in a Post-Divisionist style with a unique Fauve-like palette. Metzinger's broad omnidirectional brushstrokes in the treatment of surfaces render homage to Paul Cézanne, while the luscious subtropical imagery in the painting are an homage to Paul Gauguin and Metzinger's friend Henri Rousseau.

<i>Woman with a Hat</i> (Metzinger) Painting by Jean Metzinger

Femme au Chapeau is an oil painting by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger, created c. 1906. The work is executed in a highly personal Divisionist style with a marked Proto-Cubist component during the height of Fauvism. Femme au Chapeau exhibits a presentiment of Metzinger's subsequent interest in the faceting of form associated with Cubism. The painting is part of the collection of the Korban Art Foundation.

<i>Le Chahut</i> Painting by Georges Seurat

Le Chahut is a Neo-Impressionist painting by Georges Seurat, dated 1889–90. It was first exhibited at the 1890 Salon de la Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. Chahut became a target of art critics, and was widely discussed among Symbolist critics.

<i>Maria Sèthe at the Harmonium</i> Painting by Théo van Rysselberghe

Maria Sèthe at the Harmonium is an oil-on-canvas painting by the Belgian neo-impressionist painter Théo van Rysselberghe. It depicts a woman with blonde, worn-up hair and a purple dress, seen in profile gazing toward the left. The sitter was Maria Sèthe, who belonged to an affluent musical family with an interest in the arts. In the painting, she is seated at a harmonium but is not playing it.

<i>Sailboats and Estuary</i> The van Rysselberghe

Sailboats and Estuary is an oil-on-canvas painting by Belgian srtist Théo van Rysselberghe. Painted around 1887, it shows a coastal landscape elaborated in a Pointillist technique. Van Rysselberghe probably adopted the Pointillist manner after befriending Signac; however, the use of color in Sailboats and Esuary is nonetheless far more realistic than in paintings by Signac and other Neo-Impressionists, and reveals a tendency towards naturalism. The artwork has been in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris since 1982, on loan from the Louvre.

<i>Portrait of Irma Sèthe</i> Painting by Théo van Rysselberghe

Portrait of Irma Sèthe is an oil on canvas painting by the Belgian neo-impressionist painter Théo van Rysselberghe. The work is a portrait, painted in pointillist style, of Irma Sèthe, one of the heiress of a musical Brussels family close to the painter, playing the violin. The work is now in the private collection of the Musée du Petit Palais in Geneva.

<i>Barques de pêche–Méditerranée</i> Oil on canvas painting by Théo van Rysselberghe

Barques de pêche–Méditerranée is an oil-on-canvas painting by Belgian painter Théo van Rysselberghe. Painted in 1892, it depicts a fleet of sailboats off the southern coast of France. Van Rysselberghe's pointillist technique is well expressed in this work, whose wooden liner was painted with dots of contrasting hues serving to amplify the color harmonies in the canvas. The painting was realized by Van Rysselberghe during a two-month sailing excursion in le Midi with his close friends Paul Signac, and it offers visual representation of that sailing journey.

<i>LEscaut en amont dAnvers, le soir</i> 1892 painting by Théo van Rysselberghe

L'Escaut en amont d'Anvers, le soir or An Evening is an oil on canvas painting by Belgian painter Théo van Rysselberghe. Painted in 1892, the painting is considered a very good example of Van Rysselberghe's pointillist technique, which, by the time he painted this oeuvre, had been completely absorbed and adjusted by the Belgian artist.

References

  1. "pointillism". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on July 26, 2022.
  2. 1 2 "Pointillism". www.artcyclopedia.com.
  3. Ruhrberg, Karl. "Seurat and the Neo-Impressionists". Art of the 20th Century, Vol. 2. Koln: Benedikt Taschen Verlag, 1998. ISBN   3-8228-4089-0.
  4. Jean Metzinger, ca. 1907, quoted in Georges Desvallières, La Grande Revue, vol. 124, 1907, as cited in Robert L. Herbert, 1968, Neo-Impressionism, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
  5. Robert L. Herbert, 1968, Neo-Impressionism, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
  6. Louis Chassevent: Les Artistes indépendantes, 1906
  7. Louis Chassevent, 22e Salon des Indépendants, 1906, Quelques petits salons, Paris, 1908, p. 32
  8. Daniel Robbins, 1964, Albert Gleizes 1881 – 1953, A Retrospective Exhibition, Published by The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, in collaboration with Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris, Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund
  9. 1 2 3 Vivien Greene, Divisionism, Neo-Impressionism: Arcadia & Anarchy, Guggenheim Museum Publications, 2007, ISBN   0-89207-357-8
  10. "Nathan, Solon. "Pointillism Materials." Web. 9 Feb 2010". Archived from the original on 2009-10-19.

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