Fascinating World , My Vienna

The Point of Seeing Pointillism at Vienna‘s Albertina Gallery

Dec 29, 2016

It is only one week more to go for the superb exhibition “Ways of Pointillism” at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, but a recent visit to the Gallery and Vienna´s Christmas lights have inspired me to add this entry to my blog page after all.


The expression of an image through the art of “Pointillism” was first discovered by Georges Seurat, an artist and painter who died at the very young age of 31, but left a legacy that greatly influenced the art scene ever after: Pointillism. With the “pointillistic” style of grasping a subject, Seurat became a pioneer of Modern Art.

The Albertina Museum staff perfectly guided us through the exhibition, and it is a pleasure to share this experience with you here on this page.

Pointillism uses tiny dots or lines in distinct contrasting colours, which our eyes than combine into a whole image from a certain distance. Color pigments were not blended on a palette as in the traditional methods of painting, but rather used in a highly innovative way. Distinct contrasting colours would conjure up an image. Pointillism anticipated the four colour printing process, used by some color printers, where dots of  Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow, and Key (black) are applied. Later on this would also shape the basic technology of  television or computer monitors, and they are the predecessors to our modern RGB colours Red, Green and Blue. 

Here is an example from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris which was thankfully added to the public domain images.  It is a detail with constituent colours of the painting “Femmes au Puits”, 1892, by Paul Signac. 


The exhibition at the Albertina Museum in Vienna takes you on a journey through the “success story of pointillism from its creation in 1886 to its effects on the early 1930s.  Beginning with the ground-breaking early works by Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and Théo van Rysselberghe, this exhibition draws an arc from Paul Signac’s and Henri-Edmond Cross’s transformation of the points into small squares and mosaics all the way to the masterpieces of Vincent Van Gogh, the vibrant colours of the Fauves, the decoratively placed dots in the cubist works of Pablo Picasso, and the abstract works of Piet Mondrian.”

A striking novelty to me was the fact of the “decoratively placed dots in the cubist works of Pablo Picasso”, Pointillism in context with Picasso, when dots/short lines did not make up the image itself anymore, but were placed as a second layer over a pre-drawn shape, to add an element of decoration.



Finally the dots would become so large and geometrical, that it needed only a few to create a perfect work of art of its own, such as seen in Piet Mondrian´s famous color squares, in which the exhibition at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Ways of Pointillism, Seurat, Signac, Van Gogh sets a culminating point.

Piet Mondriaan, 1930 – Mondrian Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow.jpg; Public Domain

The Christmas decoration on the trees alongside Vienna‘s famous Ringstrasse (the road encircling the old city center), offered a striking revelation to me, when I found an image in my collection, that merged those city-lights with an advertisement of the Albertina exhibition on a Litfass column.


A perfect blend of “Pointillism” and its overcoming.


The exhibition at the Albertina is still on until January 8, 2017. It you have a chance, don‘t miss out on it. http://www.albertina.at/en/seurat_signac_vangogh


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