georges seurat a sunday on la grande jatte
In 2011, the cast of the US version of The Office re-created the painting for a poster to promote the show’s seventh-season finale. 
Some of the characters are doing curious things. The lady on the right side has a monkey on a leash. A lady on the left near the river bank is fishing. The area was known at the time as being a place to procure prostitutes among the bourgeoisie, a likely allusion of the otherwise odd “fishing” rod. In the painting’s center stands a little girl dressed in white (who is not in a shadow), who stares directly at the viewer of the painting. This may be interpreted as someone who is silently questioning the audience: “What will become of these people and their class?” Seurat paints their prospects bleakly, cloaked as they are in shadow and suspicion of sin. 
The author died in 1891, so this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer.
The Art Institute of Chicago, The Art of the Edge: European Frames 1300-1900, October 17–December 14, 1986, not included in the catalogue.
Georges Seurat began painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in the spring of 1884. During this time, the artist lived and worked alongside the Impressionists in Paris. Like these artists, Seurat often painted scenery found just outside of the French capital, including La Grande Jatte, a Seine River island situated to the west of Paris.
“Confronting his subject,” Signac explained, “Seurat, before touching his little panel with paint, scrutinizes, compares, looks with half shut eyes at the play of light and shadow, observes contrasts, isolates reflections, plays for a long time with the cover of the box which serves as his palette, then . . . he slices from his little heap of colors arranged in the order of the spectrum the various colored elements which form the tint destined best to convey the mystery he has glimpsed. Execution follows on observation, stroke by stroke the panel is covered.”
Seurat employed a then-new pigment in his painting, a zinc chromate yellow that he hoped would properly capture the highlights of the park’s green grasses. But for years this pigment has been undergoing a chemical reaction that began turning it brown even in Seurat’s lifetime.
This complicated masterpiece of Pointillism began in 1884 with a series of almost 60 sketches Seurat made while people watching at the Paris park. Next he started painting, using small horizontal brush strokes. After this initial work, he began the labor-intensive realization of his vision with tiny dots of paint—a process that would not be completed until the spring of 1886.
Georges Seurat, A Woman Fishing, drawing, 1884, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
It took more than two years for Seurat to complete the painting – at the end, the artist was only 26 years old! Seurat worked on it in several campaigns and started with almost 60 sketches. Then he started painting. This sketch, one of the earliest, would have been painted in the open air at La Grande Jatte: