Georges

Georges

[jawrj]
Sorel, Georges, 1847-1922, French social philosopher. An engineer before he devoted himself to writing, Sorel found in the political and social life of bourgeois democracy the triumph of mediocrity and espoused various forms of socialism, chiefly revolutionary syndicalism. In his best-known work, Reflections on Violence (1908, tr. 1912), which became the basic text of syndicalism, Sorel expounded his theory of "violence" as the creative power of the proletariat that could overcome "force," the coercive economic power of the bourgeoisie. He supported belief in myths about future social developments, arguing that such belief promoted social progress. Sorel supported at various times such disparate alternatives to the existing order as extreme French monarchism and the Bolshevik Revolution.

See J. J. Roth, The Cult of Violence: Sorel and the Sorelians (1980); J. R. Jennings, Georges Sorel (1985).

Lefebvre, Georges, 1874-1959, French historian, an authority on the French Revolutionary period. From 1937 to 1945 he held the chair of French Revolutionary history at the Sorbonne, and he founded the Institut d'histoire de la Révolution française. Lefebvre's most original contributions were the writing of history from below, particularly the French Revolution as viewed from the experiences of the peasantry, and his mastery of quantitative research. Both are evident in Les Paysans du Nord pendant la Révolution française (1924). Although influenced by Marxism, he was predominantly an empiricist and a humanist; he saw in history a complex interaction of social, economic, and political phenomena. His La Révolution française (rev. ed. 1951), considered an authoritative work, has been translated in two volumes as The French Revolution (1962-64) and The French Revolution from 1793 to 1799 (1964). Another work is Napoléon (4th ed. 1953; tr., 2 vol., 1969), a judicious study of the Napoleonic era.
Lemaǐtre, Georges, Abbé, 1894-1966, Belgian astrophysicist, mathematician, and Catholic priest. In 1927 he became professor of astrophysics at the Univ. of Louvain and proposed the big-bang theory to help link Einstein's relativity theory to the observed evidence of an expanding universe. He also did research on cosmic rays and the three-body problem. His works include Discussion sur l'évolution de l'univers (1933) and L'Hypothèse de l'atome primitif (1946).
Pitoëff, Georges, 1884-1939, Russian actor-manager. Although he had both engineering and law degrees, Pitoeff was drawn to the theater. He directed his own amateur company in St. Petersburg, and after World War I he emigrated to Paris, where he and his wife, the actress Ludmilla, greatly influenced French theater through their subtle and inventive productions of more than 200 plays. In addition to presenting an international repertoire including Shakespeare, Chekhov, Shaw and Pirandello, the Pitoëffs introduced the works of French innovators such as Cocteau and Anouilh.
Picquart, Georges, 1854-1914, French general. As chief of the army intelligence section in 1896, he discovered that the memorandum that had been used to convict Captain Dreyfus (see Dreyfus Affair) had probably been the work of Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy. Higher officials warned Picquart to conceal his discovery; he persisted and was sent (Dec., 1896) to Tunis and demoted. After the trial of Émile Zola, Picquart was accused of forging the note that had convinced him of Esterhazy's guilt. He was dismissed from the service and arrested for forgery. The exoneration of Dreyfus in 1906 also served to absolve Picquart, who was promoted to general and entered Georges Clemenceau's cabinet as minister of war.
Enesco, Georges, Rom. George Enescu, 1881-1955, Romanian violinist, composer, and conductor; studied at the Vienna Conservatory and in Paris with Massenet, Fauré, and others. Enesco made many worldwide concert tours as both violinist and conductor, including appearances with the New York Philharmonic (1936-39). He composed three symphonies; chamber music; an opera, Oedipe (Paris, 1936); and other orchestral music, notably two popular Romanian Rhapsodies. Yehudi Menuhin was one of his pupils.
Bernanos, Georges, 1888-1948, French novelist and polemicist. Profoundly Catholic, Bernanos attacked modern materialism and advocated a moral and ethical order based on the teachings of the Church. His novels The Star of Satan (1926, tr. 1940) and The Diary of a Country Priest (1936, tr. 1937) are powerful accounts of intense spiritual struggle and reflect his mysticism. Dialogue des Carmelites (1949) was adapted for the stage in 1952. A believer in monarchy, Bernanos was active in Royalist causes until the Spanish civil war. In 1938, after the Munich pact, which he considered a shameful instance of appeasement, he settled in Brazil and remained there until 1945. His political writings include Les Grands Cimetières sous la lune (1938, tr. A Diary of My Times, 1938), indicting Franco's policies in the Spanish civil war, and Lettre aux Anglais (1942, tr. Plea for Liberty, 1944).

See studies by T. S. Molnar (1960), G. R. Blumenthal (1965), P. Hebblewaite (1965), W. S. Bush (1969), and R. Speaight (1974).

Bidault, Georges, 1899-1983, French political leader. An influential columnist (1932-39), he was imprisoned (1940-41) in World War II and then joined the French underground, becoming its leader. A founder of the Mouvement Républicain Populaire (MRP), one of France's leading postwar parties, he was president of the provisional government (1946), premier (1949-50), and several times foreign minister. Although a strong supporter of Charles de Gaulle in 1958, Bidault opposed the Gaullist policy of Algerian independence and broke with the MRP. In 1962, announcing that he was going underground, he formed the National Council of Resistance within the terrorist Secret Army Organization (OAS); the French government accused Bidault of having become head of the OAS. In exile from 1962, Bidault lived in Brazil and then in Belgium before returning (1968) to France.

See his autobiography (tr. 1967).

Simenon, Georges, 1903-89, Belgian novelist. One of the most prolific of modern authors, he is best known for the detective stories featuring Inspector Maigret. He also wrote more than a hundred pyschological novels, which he called romans durs (hard novels), such as The Stain on the Snow (1938) and The Cat (1976).

See his Intimate Memoirs (1981, tr. 1984); study by L. Becker (1977); biographies by F. Bresler (1985) and P. Assouline (1998).

Barrère, Georges, 1876-1944, French-American flutist and conductor, grad. Paris Conservatory, 1895. In Paris he was solo flutist (1897-1905) of the Colonne Concerts and the Paris Opera, and he taught at the Schola Cantorum. He was solo flutist (1905-28) of the New York Symphony Orchestra. He joined the faculty of the Institute of Musical Art in 1905 and of the Juilliard School of Music in 1930. The Barrère Ensemble, which he founded in 1910, was expanded (1914) into the Barrère Little Symphony. His virtuosity increased the importance of the flute as a solo instrument.
Bataille, Georges, 1897-1962, French writer. Bataille was the founding editor of the journal Critique (1946). Strongly influenced by Nietzsche, he focuses on extreme states of consciousness (violence and eroticism) as forms of mediation between nature and culture. He presents his ideas in his critical essay Literature and Evil (1957, tr. 1973) and the novel Story of the Eye (1949, tr. 1987), among other works.
Clemenceau, Georges, 1841-1929, French political figure, twice premier (1906-9, 1917-20), called "the Tiger." He was trained as a doctor, but his republicanism brought him into conflict with the government of Napoleon III, and he went to the United States, where he spent several years as a journalist and a teacher. Returning to France in 1869, he was mayor of Montmartre in Paris after the overthrow (1870) of Napoleon III. His political career, beginning in Revolution, continued to be a stormy one punctuated by verbal and physical duels. As a Socialist, he opposed the moderate Léon Gambetta; drove Jules Ferry from power; and first supported but then bitterly opposed General Boulanger. A member of the chamber of deputies from 1876, he failed to win reelection in 1893 after being implicated in the Panama Canal scandal and then unjustly accused of being in the pay of the British. During the next nine years he devoted himself to journalism, writing a daily article in La Justice and founding (1900) Le Bloc. He was a passionate defender of Alfred Dreyfus in the Dreyfus Affair. In 1902, Clemenceau was elected senator, and in 1906 he became minister of the interior and then premier. During his tenure the first crisis over Morocco was settled and the alliance with Great Britain strengthened. In 1909 his cabinet fell and Aristide Briand became premier. In the next years Clemenceau vigorously attacked Germany and pressed for military preparedness. His newspaper, L'Homme libre (after its suppression in 1914, L'Homme enchâiné), attacked the government for defeatism even after the outbreak of World War I. Succeeding Paul Painlevé as premier in Nov., 1917, Clemenceau formed a coalition cabinet in which he was also minister of war. He renewed the dispirited morale of France, persuaded the allies to agree to a unified command, and pushed the war vigorously until the final victory. Leading the French delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, Clemenceau insisted on Germany's disarmament and was never satisfied with the Versailles Treaty. He was the main antagonist of Woodrow Wilson, whose ideas he viewed as too idealistic. Ironically, he was defeated in the presidential election of 1920 because of what was regarded as his leniency toward Germany. Alexandre Millerand succeeded him as premier. Clemenceau retired to his native Vendée, where he wrote In the Evening of My Thought (tr. 1929) and other works.

See biographies by G. Bruun (1943, repr. 1962) and J. H. Jackson (1946, repr. 1962); study by J. King (1960).

Bonnet, Georges, 1889-1973, French politician. He entered politics as a Radical Socialist. A financial expert, he was prominent at international conferences on reparations and other economic questions. He was ambassador (1937) to the United States and several times finance minister, notably in the Camille Chautemps cabinet (1937-38). His stringent fiscal policy was partially responsible for the fall of the Chautemps government. As foreign minister (1938-39) in Édouard Daladier's cabinet, Bonnet helped to draft the Munich Pact, and as a member of the Vichy National Council (1941), he supported collaboration with Germany. Excluded from the Radical party, Bonnet entered the French National Assembly in 1956 as a dissident radical, serving until May, 1968.
Rouault, Georges, 1871-1958, French expressionist artist. First apprenticed to a stained-glass maker, Rouault studied after 1891 under Gustave Moreau. He exhibited several paintings with the fauves (see fauvism) in 1905. His sorrowful and bitter delineations of judges, clowns, and prostitutes caused a great stir in Paris. The suffering of Jesus was his frequent subject. His thickly encrusted, powerfully colored images, outlined heavily in black, have the effect of icons and a pattern suggestive of stained glass. About 1916, Rouault began more than a decade of work for the publisher Vollard. Using a variety of graphic techniques, he executed a series of about 60 prints called Miserere. He continued to paint the themes he had used earlier, but in a more tranquil style. Examples of his art can be found in many European and American collections. The Museum of Modern Art, New York City, owns his Three Judges and Christ Mocked by Soldiers.

See catalog by P. Courthion (1962); studies by G. Marchiori (1967), J. B. Kind (1969), J. Maritain (1969), and W. A. Dyrness (1972).

Charpak, Georges, 1924-, French physicist, b. Poland. Affiliated with CERN, Charpak won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of several particle detectors that have greatly aided scientific experimentation in particle physics. Of these detectors, the multiwire proportional chamber is the most well known.
Chastellain, Georges, c.1405-1475, French chronicler, historiographer to the dukes of Burgundy. The surviving fragments of his Grande Chronique are a valuable 15th-century source.
Seurat, Georges, 1859-91, French neoimpressionist painter. He devised the pointillist technique of painting in tiny dots of pure color. His method, called divisionism, was a systematic refinement of the broken color of the impressionists. His major achievements are his Baignade (Tate Gall., London), shown in the Salon des Indépendants in 1884, and his masterpiece, Un Dimanche à la Grande Jatte (Art Inst., Chicago), completed two years later. He died of pneumonia at 31. Seurat is recognized as one of the most intellectual artists of his time and was a great influence in restoring harmonious and deliberate design and a thorough understanding of color combination to painting at a time when sketching from nature had become the mode. Other examples of Seurat's work are in the Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pa., and in the Louvre.

See catalog (ed. by A. Blunt and R. Fry, 1965); drawings (ed. by R. L. Herbert, 1966); complete paintings, ed. by J. Rewald and H. Dorra (1988); biographies by J. Russell (1985) and P. Courthion (1988).

Courteline, Georges, 1858-1929, French writer. His prolific humorous and satiric works include sketches, plays, tales, and novels. Bourgeois attitudes are ridiculed in his comedy Boubouroche (1892, tr. 1961); official red tape is satirized in his sketches Messieurs les ronds-de-cuir (1893, tr. The Bureaucrats, 1928); and the pitfalls of justice in the courts are hilariously exposed in Hortense, couche-toi (1897, tr. Hold on, Hortense, 1961) and L'Article 330 (1900, tr. 1961).
Couthon, Georges, 1755?-1794, French revolutionary. An able lawyer, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly (1791) and to the Convention (1792). He became (1793) an important member of the Committee of Public Safety, the dictatorial body that ruled France in 1793 and 1794 under Maximilien Robespierre. He generally supported Robespierre in the Reign of Terror. Although partially paralyzed, he led the army that took (1793) Lyons from the counterrevolutionists. As commissioner there he proved most humane, in contrast with his successor Jean Marie Collot d'Herbois. Couthon fell with Robespierre in the coup of 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794) and was guillotined.
Bizet, Georges, 1838-75, French operatic composer. The son of professional musicians, he entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of nine and won the Prix de Rome in 1857. He was a gifted pianist and composed instrumental music in his teens. Bizet is celebrated for his opera Carmen (1875), based on a story by Mérimée. One of the most popular operas ever written, Carmen has music that is lush, melodic, and brilliantly orchestrated. It unfolds a story of love, hate, jealousy, and murder, set in the exotic world of Spanish Gypsies and bullfighters. Bizet's other works include the operas The Pearlfishers (1863), The Fair Maid of Perth (1867), and Djamileh (1872); Symphony in C Major (1855); and incidental music to Daudet's L'Arlésienne, in the form of two orchestral suites.

See biographies by W. Dean (1950) and M. Curtiss (1958, repr. 1974).

Braque, Georges, 1882-1963, French painter. He joined the artists involved in developing fauvism in 1905, and at l'Estaque c.1909 he was profoundly influenced by Cézanne. He met Picasso, and the two simultaneously explored form and structure with results that led to the development of cubism. In works such as the monumental Nude (1907-8; Cuttoli Coll., Paris) Braque exemplified the analytical phase of the movement with his keen sense of structure and orderly method of decomposing an object. In 1911 he introduced typographical letters into his canvases and soon began working in collage. After World War I, in which he was badly wounded, Braque veered away from the angularity of early cubism and developed a more graceful, curvilinear style, predominantly painting still life. His works showed restraint and subtlety both in design and color (e.g., The Table, Pulitzer Coll., St. Louis). Braque is represented in leading galleries in Europe and the United States.

See his notebooks (tr. 1971); studies by W. Hofmann (1961), E. B. Mullins (1969), and F. Ponge et al. (tr. 1971).

Duhamel, Georges, 1884-1966, French novelist and playwright. From Duhamel's experience as a surgeon during World War I came Vie des martyrs (1917, tr. The New Book of Martyrs, 1918) and Civilisation (1918, tr. 1919). These collections of sketches are noted for their compassionate accounts of human suffering. He was successful as a dramatist; his Dans l'ombre des statues was performed in 1912 (tr. In the Shadow of Statues, 1914) and L'oeuvre des athlètes in 1920. His fiction includes two cycles of novels—Cycle de Salavin (1920-32, tr. 1936), about a sensitive eccentric, and Chronique des Pasquiers (1933-45, tr. 1937-46), about a bourgeois Parisian family. Essays in Scènes de la vie future (1930, tr. America: the Menace, 1931) and other collections reflect Duhamel's aversion to overindustrialization.

See studies by L. C. Keating (1965) and B. L. Knapp (1972).

Rodenbach, Georges, 1855-98, Belgian symbolist poet and novelist. Living in Paris from 1887, he wrote about Flemish life. His works include the poems Le Foyer et les champs (1877), La Jeunesse blanche (1886), and Les Vies encloses (1896) and a novel, Bruges-la-morte (1892).
Perrot, Georges, 1832-1914, French archaeologist. He was professor at the Sorbonne from 1875, director of the École normale supérieure, Paris, from 1888 to 1902, and permanent secretary of the Academy of Inscriptions. While a member of an archaeological expedition (1861) to Asia Minor, he reconstructed the text of a bilingual record of the reign of Augustus on the walls of a temple at Ancyra and published his results in Exploration archéologique de la Galatie et de la Bithynie (1862-72). Perrot edited and contributed to the Revue archéologique. His works include Histoire de l'art dans l'antiquité (with Charles Chipiez, 10 vol., 1882-1914).
Cadoudal, Georges, 1771-1804, French royalist conspirator. A commander of the Chouans, he led the counterrevolutionists in the Vendée. He fled to England in 1801 after the failure of an attempted assassination of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1803 he returned as the leader of another conspiracy against Napoleon. Generals Charles Pichegru and Jean Victor Moreau were implicated in the plot. Insurrections were planned in Paris and in the provinces, but the conspiracy was uncovered by Joseph Fouché, the minister of police, and Cadoudal was executed. The conspiracy, exaggerated in report, was used as a pretext to transform the Consulate into Napoleon's empire.
Darboy, Georges, 1813-71, French churchman, bishop of Nancy (1859-63) and archbishop of Paris (1863-71). In the Franco-Prussian War he behaved heroically, notably in the siege of Paris when he remained in the city to aid the wounded. When the Commune of Paris was set up, he was imprisoned as a hostage and subsequently shot.

Georges Simenon.

(born Feb. 13, 1903, Liège, Belg.—died Sept. 4, 1989, Lausanne, Switz.) Belgian-born French novelist. During 1923–33 he wrote more than 200 pseudonymous books of pulp fiction. His first novel under his own name was The Case of Peter the Lett (1931), in which he introduced one of the best-known characters in detective fiction, the Parisian police official Inspector Maigret. He wrote some 80 more Maigret novels, as well as about 130 psychological novels, numerous short stories, and autobiographical works, and was one of the most prolific and widely published authors of the 20th century. Simenon's central theme is the essential humanity of even the isolated, abnormal individual and the sorrow at the root of the human condition. Employing a style of rigorous simplicity, he evokes a prevailing atmosphere of neurotic tensions with sharp economy.

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(born Dec. 2, 1859, Paris, Fr.—died March 29, 1891, Paris) French painter. He entered the École des Beaux-Arts in 1878 and exhibited at the 1883 Salon, though he had already lost sympathy with its conservative policies. He studied scientific works in an effort to achieve scientifically the colour effects that the Impressionists had pursued, and developed Pointillism, the technique of juxtaposing tiny brushstrokes of contrasting colours to portray the play of light. Employing this method, he created huge compositions, including his masterpiece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884–86). He and other artists working in this style became known as Neo-Impressionists. As an aesthetic theorist, he explored the effects that could be achieved with the three primary colours and their complements.

Learn more about Seurat, Georges (-Pierre) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born May 27, 1871, Paris, Fr.—died Feb. 13, 1958, Paris) French painter. His apprenticeship in a glazier's shop restoring medieval stained glass (1885–90) influenced his mature style as a painter. After an early academic period, his style evolved toward Fauvism before he established a highly personal form of Expressionism. An ardent Roman Catholic, he painted subjects apparently fallen from grace—prostitutes, tragic clowns, and pitiless judges. After 1914 his subject matter became more specifically religious, with greater emphasis on redemption, and he shifted from watercolour to oil. His layers of paint became thick and rich, his forms simplified, and his colours and black lines reminiscent of stained glass. In the 1930s he produced a splendid series on Christ's Passion, while reworking many earlier paintings. His series of clowns in the 1940s are virtual self-portraits. He also produced many engravings as well as ceramics, tapestry designs, and stained glass.

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“St. Joseph the Carpenter,” oil on canvas by Georges de La Tour, c. 1645; in the elipsis

(born , March 19, 1593, Vic-sur-Seille, Lorraine, Fr.—died Jan. 30, 1652, Lunéville) French painter. He was well known in his lifetime, especially for his depictions of candlelit subjects, then was forgotten until the 20th century, when the identification of works previously misattributed established his reputation as a giant of French painting. His early works were painted in a realistic manner and influenced by the dramatic chiaroscuro of Caravaggio. The paintings of La Tour's maturity are marked by a startling geometric simplification of the human form and by the depiction of interior scenes lit only by the glare of candles or torches. His religious paintings done in this manner have a monumental simplicity and a stillness that expresses both contemplative quiet and wonder. Little is known of his life, and only four or five of his paintings are dated. The chronology and authenticity of some works attributed to him are still debated.

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“St. Joseph the Carpenter,” oil on canvas by Georges de La Tour, c. 1645; in the elipsis

(born , March 19, 1593, Vic-sur-Seille, Lorraine, Fr.—died Jan. 30, 1652, Lunéville) French painter. He was well known in his lifetime, especially for his depictions of candlelit subjects, then was forgotten until the 20th century, when the identification of works previously misattributed established his reputation as a giant of French painting. His early works were painted in a realistic manner and influenced by the dramatic chiaroscuro of Caravaggio. The paintings of La Tour's maturity are marked by a startling geometric simplification of the human form and by the depiction of interior scenes lit only by the glare of candles or torches. His religious paintings done in this manner have a monumental simplicity and a stillness that expresses both contemplative quiet and wonder. Little is known of his life, and only four or five of his paintings are dated. The chronology and authenticity of some works attributed to him are still debated.

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Georges Clemenceau.

(born Sept. 28, 1841, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, France—died Nov. 24, 1929, Paris) French statesman and journalist. A doctor before turning to politics, he served in the Chamber of Deputies (1876–93), becoming a leader of the radical republican bloc. He founded the newspapers La Justice (1880), L'Aurore (1897), and L'Homme Libre (1913) and came to be ranked among the foremost political writers of his time. His support for Alfred Dreyfus brought him into favour, and he served in the Senate (1902–20). He served as interior minister in 1906 and as premier (1906–09). During World War I, at age 76, he became premier again (1917–20), and his steadfast pursuit of the war won him the h1 “Father of Victory.” He also helped frame the postwar Treaty of Versailles, endeavouring to reconcile French interests with those of Britain and the U.S. Defeated in a presidential election in 1920, he retired from politics.

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(born May 13, 1882, Argenteuil, France—died Aug. 31, 1963, Paris) French painter. He studied painting in Le Havre, then in Paris at a private academy and briefly at the École des Beaux-Arts. Though his earliest works were influenced by Impressionism, his first important paintings (1905–07) were in the style of Fauvism pioneered by André Derain and Henri Matisse; in 1907 he exhibited and sold six of these paintings at the Salon des Indépendants. Abandoning Fauvism in 1907, he invented with Pablo Picasso the revolutionary new style known as Cubism. He painted mostly still lifes featuring geometric shapes and low-key colour harmonies. In 1912 he introduced the collage, or papier collé (pasted-paper picture), by attaching three pieces of wallpaper to the drawing Fruit Dish and Glass. By the 1920s he was a prosperous, well-established modern master. In 1923 and 1925 he designed stage sets for Sergey Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. He enjoyed a long and prestigious career; in his later years he was honoured with important exhibitions throughout the world. In 1961 he became the first living artist to have his works exhibited in the Louvre.

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orig. Alexandre-César-Léopold Bizet

(born Oct. 25, 1838, Paris, France—died June 3, 1875, Bougival) French composer. Son of a music teacher, he gained admission to the Paris Conservatoire at age 9, and at age 17 he wrote the precocious Symphony in C Major (1855). Intent on success on the operatic stage, he produced The Pearl Fishers (1863), La Jolie Fille de Perth (1866), and Djamileh (1871). Disgusted with the frivolity of French light opera, he determined to reform the genre of opéra comique. In 1875 his masterpiece, Carmen, reached the stage. Though its harsh realism repelled many, Carmen quickly won international enthusiasm and was recognized as the supreme example of opéra comique. Bizet's death soon after its premiere cut short a remarkable career.

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(born Oct. 5, 1899, Moulins, France—died Jan. 27, 1983, Cambo-les-Bains, near Bayonne) French statesman and Resistance leader in World War II. After being imprisoned in Germany (1940), he returned to France (1941) and worked with the National Council of Resistance, which he headed in 1943. He helped found the Popular Republican Movement (1944) and supported Charles de Gaulle's wartime government. After the war he briefly served twice as prime minister and three times as minister of foreign affairs. In 1958 he broke with de Gaulle and opposed Algerian independence. He advocated terrorism to prevent independence, went underground, and was forced into exile (1962–68).

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(born Feb. 20, 1888, Paris, France—died July 5, 1948, Neuilly-sur-Seine) French novelist and polemical writer. One of the most original and independent Roman Catholic writers of his time and a man of humour and humanity, he abhorred materialism and compromise with evil. His masterpiece, The Diary of a Country Priest (1936), is the story of a young priest's war against sin. Dialogues of the Carmelites (1949), a screenplay about 16 nuns martyred during the French Revolution, was the basis for an opera by Francis Poulenc (1957).

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(born Sept. 10, 1897, Billom, France—died July 9, 1962, Paris) French librarian and writer. He trained as an archivist and worked at the Bibliothèque Nationale and at the Orléans library. He wrote a number of novels under pseudonyms before publishing Le Coupable (1944; Guilty) under his own name. His novels, essays, and poetry show a fascination with eroticism, mysticism, violence, and an ideal of excess and waste. In 1946 he founded the influential literary review Critique, which he edited until his death.

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(born Dec. 2, 1859, Paris, Fr.—died March 29, 1891, Paris) French painter. He entered the École des Beaux-Arts in 1878 and exhibited at the 1883 Salon, though he had already lost sympathy with its conservative policies. He studied scientific works in an effort to achieve scientifically the colour effects that the Impressionists had pursued, and developed Pointillism, the technique of juxtaposing tiny brushstrokes of contrasting colours to portray the play of light. Employing this method, he created huge compositions, including his masterpiece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884–86). He and other artists working in this style became known as Neo-Impressionists. As an aesthetic theorist, he explored the effects that could be achieved with the three primary colours and their complements.

Learn more about Seurat, Georges (-Pierre) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Georges Simenon.

(born Feb. 13, 1903, Liège, Belg.—died Sept. 4, 1989, Lausanne, Switz.) Belgian-born French novelist. During 1923–33 he wrote more than 200 pseudonymous books of pulp fiction. His first novel under his own name was The Case of Peter the Lett (1931), in which he introduced one of the best-known characters in detective fiction, the Parisian police official Inspector Maigret. He wrote some 80 more Maigret novels, as well as about 130 psychological novels, numerous short stories, and autobiographical works, and was one of the most prolific and widely published authors of the 20th century. Simenon's central theme is the essential humanity of even the isolated, abnormal individual and the sorrow at the root of the human condition. Employing a style of rigorous simplicity, he evokes a prevailing atmosphere of neurotic tensions with sharp economy.

Learn more about Simenon, Georges (-Joseph-Christian) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born May 27, 1871, Paris, Fr.—died Feb. 13, 1958, Paris) French painter. His apprenticeship in a glazier's shop restoring medieval stained glass (1885–90) influenced his mature style as a painter. After an early academic period, his style evolved toward Fauvism before he established a highly personal form of Expressionism. An ardent Roman Catholic, he painted subjects apparently fallen from grace—prostitutes, tragic clowns, and pitiless judges. After 1914 his subject matter became more specifically religious, with greater emphasis on redemption, and he shifted from watercolour to oil. His layers of paint became thick and rich, his forms simplified, and his colours and black lines reminiscent of stained glass. In the 1930s he produced a splendid series on Christ's Passion, while reworking many earlier paintings. His series of clowns in the 1940s are virtual self-portraits. He also produced many engravings as well as ceramics, tapestry designs, and stained glass.

Learn more about Rouault, Georges (-Henri) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Oct. 5, 1899, Moulins, France—died Jan. 27, 1983, Cambo-les-Bains, near Bayonne) French statesman and Resistance leader in World War II. After being imprisoned in Germany (1940), he returned to France (1941) and worked with the National Council of Resistance, which he headed in 1943. He helped found the Popular Republican Movement (1944) and supported Charles de Gaulle's wartime government. After the war he briefly served twice as prime minister and three times as minister of foreign affairs. In 1958 he broke with de Gaulle and opposed Algerian independence. He advocated terrorism to prevent independence, went underground, and was forced into exile (1962–68).

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Georges Clemenceau.

(born Sept. 28, 1841, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, France—died Nov. 24, 1929, Paris) French statesman and journalist. A doctor before turning to politics, he served in the Chamber of Deputies (1876–93), becoming a leader of the radical republican bloc. He founded the newspapers La Justice (1880), L'Aurore (1897), and L'Homme Libre (1913) and came to be ranked among the foremost political writers of his time. His support for Alfred Dreyfus brought him into favour, and he served in the Senate (1902–20). He served as interior minister in 1906 and as premier (1906–09). During World War I, at age 76, he became premier again (1917–20), and his steadfast pursuit of the war won him the h1 “Father of Victory.” He also helped frame the postwar Treaty of Versailles, endeavouring to reconcile French interests with those of Britain and the U.S. Defeated in a presidential election in 1920, he retired from politics.

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(born May 13, 1882, Argenteuil, France—died Aug. 31, 1963, Paris) French painter. He studied painting in Le Havre, then in Paris at a private academy and briefly at the École des Beaux-Arts. Though his earliest works were influenced by Impressionism, his first important paintings (1905–07) were in the style of Fauvism pioneered by André Derain and Henri Matisse; in 1907 he exhibited and sold six of these paintings at the Salon des Indépendants. Abandoning Fauvism in 1907, he invented with Pablo Picasso the revolutionary new style known as Cubism. He painted mostly still lifes featuring geometric shapes and low-key colour harmonies. In 1912 he introduced the collage, or papier collé (pasted-paper picture), by attaching three pieces of wallpaper to the drawing Fruit Dish and Glass. By the 1920s he was a prosperous, well-established modern master. In 1923 and 1925 he designed stage sets for Sergey Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. He enjoyed a long and prestigious career; in his later years he was honoured with important exhibitions throughout the world. In 1961 he became the first living artist to have his works exhibited in the Louvre.

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orig. Alexandre-César-Léopold Bizet

(born Oct. 25, 1838, Paris, France—died June 3, 1875, Bougival) French composer. Son of a music teacher, he gained admission to the Paris Conservatoire at age 9, and at age 17 he wrote the precocious Symphony in C Major (1855). Intent on success on the operatic stage, he produced The Pearl Fishers (1863), La Jolie Fille de Perth (1866), and Djamileh (1871). Disgusted with the frivolity of French light opera, he determined to reform the genre of opéra comique. In 1875 his masterpiece, Carmen, reached the stage. Though its harsh realism repelled many, Carmen quickly won international enthusiasm and was recognized as the supreme example of opéra comique. Bizet's death soon after its premiere cut short a remarkable career.

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(born Feb. 20, 1888, Paris, France—died July 5, 1948, Neuilly-sur-Seine) French novelist and polemical writer. One of the most original and independent Roman Catholic writers of his time and a man of humour and humanity, he abhorred materialism and compromise with evil. His masterpiece, The Diary of a Country Priest (1936), is the story of a young priest's war against sin. Dialogues of the Carmelites (1949), a screenplay about 16 nuns martyred during the French Revolution, was the basis for an opera by Francis Poulenc (1957).

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(born Sept. 10, 1897, Billom, France—died July 9, 1962, Paris) French librarian and writer. He trained as an archivist and worked at the Bibliothèque Nationale and at the Orléans library. He wrote a number of novels under pseudonyms before publishing Le Coupable (1944; Guilty) under his own name. His novels, essays, and poetry show a fascination with eroticism, mysticism, violence, and an ideal of excess and waste. In 1946 he founded the influential literary review Critique, which he edited until his death.

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Georges-Pierre Seurat (December 2, 1859 – March 29, 1891) was a French painter and draftsman. His large work Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, his most famous painting, altered the direction of modern art by initiating Neo-impressionism, and is one of the icons of 19th century painting.

Life

Seurat was born into a very rich family in Paris. His father, Antoine Chrysostom Seurat, was a legal official and a native of Champagne; his mother, Ernestine Faivre, was Parisian. Georges Seurat first studied art with Justin Lequiene, a sculptor. Seurat attended the École des Beaux-Arts in 1878 and 1879. After a year of service at Brest military academy, he returned to Paris in 1880. He shared a small studio on the Left Bank with two student friends before moving to a studio of his own. For the next two years he devoted himself to mastering the art of black and white drawing. He spent 1883 on his first major painting — a huge canvas titled Bathers at Asnières.

After his painting was rejected by the Paris Salon, Seurat turned away from such establishments, instead allying himself with the independent artists of Paris. In 1884 he and other artists (including Maximilien Luce) formed the Société des Artistes Indépendants. There he met and befriended fellow artist Paul Signac. Seurat shared his new ideas about pointillism with Signac, who subsequently painted in the same idiom. In the summer of 1884 Seurat began work on his masterpiece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which took him two years to complete.

Later he moved from the Boulevard de Clichy to a quieter studio nearby, where he lived secretly with a young model, Madeleine Knobloch. In February 1890 she gave birth to his son. It was not until two days before his death that he introduced his young family to his parents. Shortly after his death, Madeleine gave birth to his second son, whose name is unknown, and who died at birth or soon after.

The cause of Seurat's death is uncertain, and has been attributed to a form of meningitis, pneumonia, infectious angina, and/or diphtheria. His last ambitious work, The Circus, was left unfinished at the time of his death.

Scientific background and influences

During the 19th century, scientist-writers such as Michel Eugène Chevreul, Ogden Rood and David Sutter wrote treatises on color, optical effects and perception. They were able to translate the scientific research of Helmholtz and Newton into a written form that was understandable by non-scientists. Chevreul was perhaps the most important influence on artists at the time; his great contribution was producing the color wheel of primary and intermediary hues.

Chevreul was a French chemist who restored old tapestries. During his restorations of tapestries he noticed that the only way to restore a section properly was to take into account the influence of the colors around the missing wool; he could not produce the right hue unless he recognized the surrounding dyes. Chevreul discovered that two colors juxtaposed, slightly overlapping or very close together, would have the effect of another color when seen from a distance. The discovery of this phenomenon became the basis for the Pointillist technique of the Neoimpressionist painters.

Chevreul also realized that the 'halo' that one sees after looking at a color is actually the opposing, or complementary, color. For example: After looking at a red object, one may see a green echo/halo of the original object. This complementary color (as an example, green for red) is due to retinal persistence. Neoimpressionist painters interested in the interplay of colors made extensive use of complementary colors in their paintings. In his works Chevreul advised artists that they should not just paint the color of the object being depicted, but rather they should add colors and make appropriate adjustments to achieve a harmony. It seems that the harmony Chevreul wrote about is what Seurat came to call 'emotion'.

According to Professor Anne Beauchemin from McGill University, most Neoimpressionist painters probably did not read Chevreul's books, but instead they read Grammaire des arts du dessin, written in 1867 by Charles Blanc, who cited Chevreul's works. Blanc's book was targeted at artists and art connoisseurs. Color had an emotional significance for him, and he made explicit recommendations to artists which were close to the theories later adopted by the Neoimpressionists. He said that color should not be based on the 'judgment of taste', but rather it should be close to what we experience in reality. Blanc did not want artists to use equal intensities of color, but rather to consciously plan and understand the role of each hue.

Another important influence on the Neoimpressionists was Ogden Rood, who also studied color and optical effects. Whereas the theories of Chevreul are based on Newton's thoughts on the mixing of light, Rood's writings are based on the work of Helmholtz, and as such he analyzed the effects of mixing together and juxtaposing material pigments. For Rood, the primary colors were red, green, and blue-violet. Like Chevreul, he stated that if two colors are placed next to each other, from a distance they look like a third distinctive color. Rood also pointed out that the juxtaposition of primary hues next to each other would create a far more intense and pleasing color when perceived by the eye and mind than the corresponding color made by mixing paint. Rood advised that artists be aware of the difference between additive and subtractive qualities of color, since material pigments and optical pigments (light) do not mix together in the same way:

  • Material pigments: Red + Green + [Brown] = [Rubber (writing)|Rubbers]
  • Optical / Light : Orange + Green + [Pink] = [Pencils]

Other influences on Seurat included Sutter's Phenomena of Vision (1880) in which he wrote that "the laws of harmony can be learned as one learns the laws of harmony and music, as well as mathematician Charles Henry who in the 1880s delivered monologues at the Sorbonne about the emotional properties and symbolic meaning of lines and color. Henry's ideas were quickly adopted by the founder of Neoimpressionism.

Seurat's melding of science and emotion

Seurat took to heart the color theorists' notion of a scientific approach to painting. Seurat believed that a painter could use color to create harmony and emotion in art in the same way that a musician uses counterpoint and variation to create harmony in music. Seurat theorized that the scientific application of color was like any other natural law, and he was driven to prove this conjecture. He thought that the knowledge of perception and optical laws could be used to create a new language of art based on its own set of heuristics and he set out to show this language using lines, color intensity and color schema. Seurat called this language Chromoluminarism.

His letter to Maurice Beaubourg in 1890 captures his feelings about the scientific approach to emotion and harmony. He says "Art is Harmony. Harmony is the analogy of the contrary and of similar elements of tone, of color and of line, considered according to their dominance and under the influence of light, in gay, calm or sad combinations.

Seurat's theories can be summarized as follows: The emotion of gaiety can be achieved by the domination of luminous hues, by the predominance of warm colors, and by the use of lines directed upward. Calm is achieved through an equivalence/balance of the use of the light and the dark, by the balance of warm and cold colors, and by lines that are horizontal. Sadness is achieved by using dark and cold colors and by lines pointing downwards.

The crowning achievement

Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte shows members of each of the social classes participating in various park activities. The tiny juxtaposed dots of multi-colored paint allow the viewer's eye to blend colors optically, rather than having the colors blended on the canvas or pre-blended as a material pigment. It took Seurat 2 years to complete this ten foot wide painting, much of which he spent in the park sketching in preparation for the work (there are about 60 studies). It is now in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Gallery

References

Further reading

  • Cachin, Françoise, Seurat: Le rêve de l’art-science, Paris: Gallimard/Réunion des musées nationaux, 1991
  • Everdell, William R. (1998). The First Moderns. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-22480-5.
  • Fénéon, Félix, Oeuvres-plus-que-complètes, ed., J. U. Halperin, 2v, Geneva: Droz, 1970
  • Gage, John T., “The Technique of Seurat: A Reappraisal,” Art Bulletin 69:3 (September 87)

de-Siècle Paris'', New Haven, CT: Yale U.P., 1988

  • Homer, William Innes, Seurat and the Science of Painting, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1964
  • Lövgren, Sven, The Genesis of Modernism: Seurat, Gauguin, Van Gogh & French Symbolism in the 1880s, 2nd ed., Bloomington, IN: Indiana U.P., 1971
  • Rewald, John, Cézanne, new ed., NY: Abrams, 1986
  • Rewald, Seurat, NY: Abrams, 1990
  • Rewald, Studies in Impressionism, NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1986
  • Rewald, Post-Impressionism, 3rd ed., revised, NY: Museum of Modern Art, 1978
  • Rewald, Studies in Post-Impressionism, NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1986
  • Rich, Daniel Catton, Seurat and the Evolution of La Grande Jatte (U. of Chicago Press, 1935), NY: Greenwood Press, 1969
  • Russell, John, Seurat, (1965) London: Thames & Hudson, 1985
  • Seurat, Georges, Seurat: Correspondences, témoignages, notes inédites, critiques, ed., Hélène Seyrès, Paris: Acropole, 1991 (NYU ND 553.S5A3)
  • Seurat, ed., Norma Broude, Seurat in Perspective, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1978

See also

External links

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