Pointillism ( /ˈpwæ̃tɪlɪzəm/ , also US: /ˈpwɑːn-ˌˈpɔɪn-/ )  is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.
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.  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. 
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.  It is a technique with few serious practitioners today and is notably seen in the works of Seurat, Signac, and Cross.
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.  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:
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. 
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. 
The painting technique used for Pointillist color mixing is at the expense of the traditional brushwork used to delineate texture. 
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. 
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.
Georges Pierre Seurat was a French post-Impressionist artist. He devised the painting techniques known as chromoluminarism and pointillism and used conté crayon for drawings on paper with a rough surface.
Post-Impressionism was a predominantly French art movement that developed roughly between 1886 and 1905, from the last Impressionist exhibition to the birth of Fauvism. Post-Impressionism emerged as a reaction against Impressionists' concern for the naturalistic depiction of light and colour. Its broad emphasis on abstract qualities or symbolic content means Post-Impressionism encompasses Les Nabis, Neo-Impressionism, Symbolism, Cloisonnism, the Pont-Aven School, and Synthetism, along with some later Impressionists' work. The movement's principal artists were Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Georges Seurat.
Paul Victor Jules Signac was a French Neo-Impressionist painter who, with Georges Seurat, helped develop the artistic technique Pointillism.
Henri-Edmond Cross, born Henri-Edmond-Joseph Delacroix, was a French painter and printmaker. He is most acclaimed as a master of Neo-Impressionism and he played an important role in shaping the second phase of that movement. He was a significant influence on Henri Matisse and many other artists. His work was instrumental in the development of Fauvism.
Neo-Impressionism is a term coined by French art critic Félix Fénéon in 1886 to describe an art movement founded by Georges Seurat. Seurat's most renowned masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, marked the beginning of this movement when it first made its appearance at an exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in Paris. Around this time, the peak of France's modern era emerged and many painters were in search of new methods. Followers of Neo-Impressionism, in particular, were drawn to modern urban scenes as well as landscapes and seashores. Science-based interpretation of lines and colors influenced Neo-Impressionists' characterization of their own contemporary art. The Pointillist and Divisionist techniques are often mentioned in this context, because they were the dominant techniques in the beginning of the Neo-impressionist movement.
Théophile "Théo" van Rysselberghe was a Belgian neo-impressionist painter, who played a pivotal role in the European art scene at the turn of the twentieth century.
Charles Angrand was a French artist who gained renown for his Neo-Impressionist paintings and drawings. He was an important member of the Parisian avant-garde art scene in the late 1880s and early 1890s.
Divisionism, also called chromoluminarism, was the characteristic style in Neo-Impressionist painting defined by the separation of colors into individual dots or patches which interacted optically.
Fauvism /ˈfoʊvɪzm̩/ is the style of les Fauves, a group of early 20th-century modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong colour over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. While Fauvism as a style began around 1904 and continued beyond 1910, the movement as such lasted only a few years, 1905–1908, and had three exhibitions. The leaders of the movement were André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Henri Matisse.
The Lagoon of Saint Mark, Venice is an oil on canvas painting by Paul Signac. This painting focuses on a seascape image which became a common theme late in Signac's life.
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 now in the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Spain.
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.
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.
Femme au Chapeau or Lucie au chapeau is an oil painting created circa 1906 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). 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 now forms part of the collection of the Korban Art Foundation.
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.
Maria Sèthe at the Harmonium is an oil on canvas painting by the Belgian neo-impressionist painter Théo van Rysselberghe. The painting depicts a woman with blonde, worn-up hair and a purple dress staring dreamily into space, while smiling. The sitter was Maria Sèthe, who belonged to an affluent musical family with an interest in the arts. In the painting, she is depicted sitting at a harmonium, but she's not playing it.
Sailboats and Estuary is an oil on canvas painting by Belgian painter 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.
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.
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 pontillist 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.
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.