Georges Seurat and Pointilism: Background information when reading Liar & Spy

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Liar & Spy

by Rebecca Stead

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead X
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2012, 192 pages
    Aug 2013, 192 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Megan Shaffer

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Georges Seurat and Pointilism

Print Review

The "Sir Ott" painting in which Georges takes so much comfort, is titled A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by French Pointillist painter Georges Pierre Seurat (Here's a pronunciation guide). Seurat was born in Paris in 1859 and is widely known for founding the Neo-Impressionistic art movement and use of the pointillist technique.

Pointillism, the term used with respect to the work of Seurat, is the practice of painting patterns of small, distinct dots of pure color next to each other. When seen from a distance, the dots fuse to form images. The pointillist technique focuses on small, individual brushwork strokes which the viewer can't differentiate when looking at from afar.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is considered to be Seurat's masterpiece and is currently housed in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. An icon of late 19th-century painting, this large-scale work (approximately 6 ft 10 in x 10 ft 1 in) depicts a small island in the Seine on the outskirts of Paris which served as an idyllic retreat from city life in the 1880s.

As a fun aside, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte was featured in the Hollywood classic, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when Bueller and his friends visit the Art Institute of Chicago on their "day off." A video of director John Hughes explaining the relevance of the Georges Seurat painting to the movie can be found below:

Picture of painting from

Article by Megan Shaffer

This article was originally published in September 2012, and has been updated for the August 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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