Trombonist (Study for "Circus Side Show")
Study for "La Parade"

Georges Seurat, French, 1859 - 1891

Geography:
Made in France, Europe

Date:
1887-1888

Medium:
Conté crayon and chalk on buff laid paper

Dimensions:
Sheet: 12 1/4 x 9 3/8 inches (31.1 x 23.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1986-26-31

Credit Line:
The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection in memory of Frances P. McIlhenny, 1986

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Label:
Seurat used black Conté crayon to create gradations of tone on the textured paper, achieving effects akin to those in his pointillist paintings, in which he juxtaposed dots of pure colors that blended optically to produce another color. White chalk or crayon applied over black crayon delineates the loop of the trombone.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    The towering silhouette of the lone trombonist and the strong horizontal and vertical definition of shallow space mark Georges Seurat's first nocturnal painting, Circus Side Show (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), as mysterious and complex, qualities that it shares with this preparatory drawing for the center third of the final composition. The immobile, self-contained figures paradoxically suggest silence rather than gay circus music, while the emphatic placement of every element in the composition gives a strange weight and timelessness to a fleeting moment of entertainment. Seurat's method of drawing without lines formed an empirical equivalent to his scientifically based pointillist paintings, in which he juxtaposed dots of pure colors that blended optically to produce another color. In this and his other drawings Seurat used black conté crayon on a textured paper to create a luminous ambience against which dark figures and objects were silhouetted. The white of the paper generally creates the highlights, but occasionally Seurat points up significant elements with white chalk, as he does with the long loop of the trombone that stands out against the musician's dark costume. Innis Howe Shoemaker, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 229.