Collection 1880s–1940s

Georges-Pierre Seurat. Evening, Honfleur. 1886 531

Oil on canvas, with painted wood frame, 30 3/4 x 37" (78.3 x 94 cm) including frame. Gift of Mrs. David M. Levy

Curator, Ann Temkin: If you look at this painting, you can see that rather than painting in strokes with his paint brush, as most often is the case, he's actually used the tip of the brush to apply very small dots over the surface of the canvas.

And so, when you come close to the picture, you can actually almost not make out a composition. And then you step back, and they actually begin to form shapes: the clouds, the sea, the horizon line, the rocks on the beach.

I think that Seurat's technique gave a sort of shimmer of light to these pictures, and gave this sense of the way that light in air, in the world around us, is something that is actually dynamic, is always in movement.

Instead of using the frame to make a distinction, like some kind of fortress wall between the world of the picture and the world around it on the wall of the museum, we have a frame that actually continues what's going on in the painting into the space beyond the painting.

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