Georges Seurat
Model, Back View

Model, Back View
Georges Seurat (1859-1891)
Model, Back View
1887
Oil on wood
H. 24.5; W. 15.5 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / DR


Poseuse debout, de face, étude pour Les poseuses
Model, side view

Poseuse de dos [Model, Back View]


During the winter of 1886-1887, Georges Seurat started work on a large composition The Models. The painting is now in the Barnes Foundation, in Merion in the United States. It shows three models posing nude in the artist's studio. On the wall the artist has reproduced An Afternoon at La Grande Jatte, the manifesto of the new style of which Seurat became the leader and which the critic Felix Fénéon called Neo-Impressionism.
Seurat made a large number of preparatory drawings and sketches for The Models, including the three studies in the Musee d'Orsay: Model, Back View, Model, Front View and Model, Side View.
In Model, Back View, the painter has shown his model nude, from the back, sitting on a white sheet. She brings to mind a famous painting which created a stir when it entered the Louvre in 1879: The Valpinçon Bather by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres. Like Ingres, whom he greatly admired, Seurat highlights of the top of the woman's back and the nape of her neck. He uses the technique which he had himself initiated, dividing the brushstrokes into tiny dots of juxtaposed pure colour.
The three Models belonged to Félix Fénéon who kept them until his death. In 1947 they were bought by the Musées nationaux along with a pencil drawing of the stove in the studio; it is now in the drawing collection of the Musee d'Orsay.


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