40. G. SEURAT: The Stove in Seurat's Studio, Study for "Les Poseuses," 1887.

Seurat's Theories

IN a conversation with Gustave Kahn, Seurat once defined painting as the art of hollowing a surface. At the same time he explained that while the science of aesthetics was not the whole story, since there were intimate elements in art, even in its technique, which only the painter himself could recognize and deal with, for his part he was convinced of the absolute need to base his theories on scientific truths.100

While Seurat the painter was indivisible from Seurat the theorist, there are certain sayings of his that may be considered to spring from the one rather than the other. It was Seurat the painter who said that he could only paint what he saw before his eyes101 and declared that the drawing was the fundamental element in painting, and also that harmony of color should flow from harmony of line. But it was Seurat the theorist who attempted to generalize the laws of color and line.

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