Saturday, December 19th, 2009
The Art Institute of Chicago has the most adorable conservation program. In honor of the 125th birthday of Georges Seurat’s pointillist masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – 1884, the Art Institute is putting up six different colors of dots from the painting for adoption.
The six options are light blue, red, green, pink, dark blue and black. The descriptions on the Art Institute are just too cute. A couple of my favorites:
I don’t want to brag, but some people say I set the entire scene of La Grande Jatte. You can find me nearly everywhere—working hard to give the sky its radiance, rippling through the water with a soft summer breeze. But I’m not always so obvious. Did you know I’m also a little dog’s collar and the smoke of a pipe? That’s right; I can be subtle too! Look for me in the shade under the brim of a hat, keeping cool and refreshed on this sunny day.
I am bold; there is no way around it! My presence is not for the faint of heart, and I work best when used in small doses to create bright bursts of color and contrast. Found in an umbrella, an overcoat, and tiny specks on the tip of a little dog’s tail, I bring life and a bit of mystery to the scene! Look for me in the lake on the rower’s hats and in the tiny flag on top of a sailboat.
You can adopt one dot for $10, three dots for $25 and all six colors for $50. Just fill out and submit this form to become a proud parent of a precious tiny dot. You can also adopt a dot as a gift. You’ll get a button with your dot and a card describing the location of your dot on the painting. The deadline has passed, I’m afraid, for guaranteed delivery of dot adoption button and card by Christmas, but you can get them in person if you’re in Chicago.
All the funds will go towards conservation costs for this spectacular piece of art and for other pieces in the museum. Seurat was a great innovator and experimented with the chemical makeup of color as much as he did with color theory. He used a newly-invented pigment called zinc yellow for the sun-drenched area of lawn, and it was already beginning to degrade during his lifetime. In the next 125 years, a lot of that yellow turned brown, so the painting really needs constant tending.
Adopting a dot from A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte is joining a great art historical and pop culture family. It caused a revolution in the late 19th century and its principles are the same ones used in 4-color printing today. The painting has been the star of a Stephen Sondheim musical (Sunday in the Park with George), a featured player in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and even recreated by Barney in an episode of The Simpsons.