Although Georges Seurat is best known for pioneering the innovative paint handling technique known as pointillisme, in which an image is built up from discrete patches of color, he spent his early years training in the approved academic manner at the École des Beaux-Arts. The present painting, a selective reduction of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s Roger Freeing Angelica, is one of thirteen copies that Seurat made after works of art by the famed French draftsman. Ingres’s 1819 composition, inspired by Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso, depicts a knight rescuing a princess from a vicious sea monster. By isolating the female figure from her literary narrative, Seurat focuses attention on her plight: the threat of abandonment and near death on the Isle of Tears, alluded to by a vertical strip of churning water at her feet. The result is a curious homage to the linear clarity and anatomical oddities of Ingres’s portrayal, which were widely admired by Seurat and his contemporaries. Sixteen years later, fellow painter Edgar Degas bought a version of Roger Freeing Angelica for his own private collection.
- Artist Name: Georges-Pierre Seurat (French, 1859-1891)
- Title: Angelica at the Rock (After Ingres)
- Date: 1878
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 32-5/8 x 26-1/8 in. (83 x 66.3 cm)
- Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Jennifer Jones Simon
- Accession Number: M.1997.1.4.P
- Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation
Léopold Appert, Paris.
[?]Charles Hall Thorndyke (1875-1935).
[Etienne Bignou, Paris].
Alphonse Bellier, Paris.
[Jos Hessel, Paris; sold 15 March 1930 to];
[Alex. Reid & Lefevre, London, stock no. 469/29, sold 20 February 1933 to];
[Étienne Bignou, Paris].
Private collection, England by 1961 – still in 1972.
[Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York, by 1976, sold 9 April 1982 to];
Norton Simon, bequest 1993 to;
Jennifer Jones Simon, gift 1997 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.
Process of Perfection
- Norton, MA, Watson Gallery, Wheaton College, 1976-11-15 to 1976-12-15
- Rewald, John and Henri Dorra, Seurat: l'oeuvre peint, biographie et catalogue critique,no. 1, fig. 1
- NHK, Journey to the master piece: George Seurat "Cirque" (Japanese public television broadcast, five times from April 2005 to April 2010),2005,
- Thomson, Richard, Seurat,n. 31 pp. 18, 227
- de Hauke, Cesar, Seurat et son oeuvre,no. 1 p. 3
- Brettell, Richard R. and Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum, volume 1,2006,
- Rewald, John, Seurat: A Biography, pp. 16, 18
- Petit Palais, Ingres,under no. 108
- Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1690 p. 436
- Artwork, p. 180
- Distel, Anne, Seurat,fig. 2 pp. 6, 32
- Courthion, Pierre, Seurat, pp. 13-14
- Rewald, John, Georges Seurat,fig. 5 pp. 2, 4
- Georges Seurat 1859 - 1891,under no. 8
- Villa Medici, Ingres in Italia,under no. 79
- Cooper, Douglas, Georges Seurat: Une Baignade à Asnières, p. 10
- Zimmermann, M., Seurat and the Art Theory of His Time,fig. 39 pp. 27-28
- Chastel, André and Fiorella Minervino, L'Opera completa di Seurat,no. 1 p. 91
- Bonnet, P., Le Crocodile, p. 8
- Hess, Thomas B., Art News Annual, p. 172
- De David à Delacroix: la peinture française de 1774 à 1830,under no. 107
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