Georges Seurat was born the French capital on December 2, 1859. Chrysostome-Antoine Seurat, his father, was a bailiff. His mother, Ernestine Faivre, was from a prosperous family once produced several sculptors. Seurat’s father was an eccentric man who, by the time the young artist was born, he was already retired and living by himself, away from the family home in Paris. Seurat lived with his mother and his two siblings.
After a brief period in Fountainebleau, due to the Franco-Prussian War, followed by the Paris Commune Rebellion, young Seurat began to develop a deep interest in art, encouraged by his maternal uncle Paul Haumonte, who would give him informal art lessons.
At first, Seurat conducted his own artistic studies at the time, extensively visiting libraries and museums throughout Paris, also seeking instructions from the painter Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Seurat’s drawings dating from 1874 include figures from Raphael’s drawings, copies of Hans Holbein The Younger’s artworks, and a sketch of Nicolas Poussin’s hand.
Seurat formal training began circa 1875 when he enrolled at a local art school under French sculptor Justin Lequien. There, he befriended Edmond-Francois Aman-Jean. Soon, both artists ingressed at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, which at the time was run by Henri Lehmann, who was a follower of the distinguished Neo-Classical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Seurat studied at the Academy for about two years.
At some point, Seurat was exposed to the works of Charles Blanc and Michel-Eugene Chevreul regarding the science of optics and color theory. Cheuvraul’s discovery that the juxtaposition of complementary colors could give the impression of another color became a defining element of Seurat’s future artworks.
In 1879, the artist visited the fourth Impressionist exhibition in Paris. Seurat became fond of paintings by Camille Pissarro and Claude Monet, whose artworks displayed the liberation from close-minded and rigid academic rules, which was also a pivotal influence on Seurat’s future experiments.
Following the reading of Modern Chromatics by Odgen N. Rood, who encouraged artists to experiment with juxtaposing small dots of different colors to test how they would blend in the observer’s eye, Seurat began to put in practice his theoretical studies. This process culminated in Bathers at Asnieres, his earliest major project. Seurat submitted the said painting to the Salon of 1883. However, it was rejected by the jury. Soon after, Seurat, along with several other artists, would create the Societe des Artistes Independants.