Broadway Features and Reviews
Any Day In The Museum With George
By Molly Kordares, Broadway Magazine
Georges Seurat is considered one of Impressionism's best. Unfortunately, he only painted for 12 years of his life, leaving behind a considerably small inheritance for the world's museums to split up. His most famous work, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte", is held by the Art Institute of Chicago and is the inspiration behind the Broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George. Though they sing "art isn't easy" in the hit Broadway revival, finding Seurat's art in New York City is not so difficult when you know where to look.
If the Broadway show has left you craving more of the passionate French artist, New York offers plenty of his paintings, including the final sketch of his musical-inspiring masterpiece, right here at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The sketch is the last of a staggering 32 preparatory drawings Seurat created before beginning "A Sunday Afternoon" in 1884.
The Met houses seven other Seurat works in its permanent collection, including Gray Weather, Grande Jatte" and "Circus Sideshow," where Seurat continued to employ the pointillist style he became famous for, using small dots of paint to create form and intense color. A few of his earlier oil works are also on display there.
Farther down Fifth Avenue, at the Museum of Modern Art, just blocks away from where the Broadway show is now playing, Seurat appears again. Along with some small but haunting crayon drawings, three of his marine paintings are on display, including "Evening, Honfleur",regarded as one of the most melancholy because of its barren scene. The coast of Honfleur, France attracted many artists who were captivated by the violent ocean and rocky shore. In his version, however, Seurat chose to calm the waters and mirror the stillness of the heavens. He also painted a border around the edge of the canvas, softening the barrier between art and reality.
The Guggenheim has a more modest collection-only three peasant paintings-but the museum insists that no study of Seurat is complete without seeing these formative works. Their lower class subjects were typically found on the outskirts of Paris, and were represented by short brushstrokes that would become even shorter as he fully embraced pointillism, changing the landscape of modernism and securing a place in art history. What Seurat may never have guessed was that, many years after his death, he would also secure a place in Broadway's history as well.
Putting It All Together:
-Metropolitan Museum of Art
-1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street -212-535-7710
The Museum of Modern Art
-11 West 53 Street, -(212) 708-9400
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
-1071 5th Avenue (at 89th Street)
For additional Broadway features visit http://www.broadway.tv/broadway-features-reviews