An Indian Man

Object Details


An Indian Man


Georges Seurat (French, 1859 - 1891)




France (Place created)


1878 to 1879


Powdered vine charcoal and charcoal with stumping and lifting


48.4 × 28.5 cm (19 1/16 × 11 1/4 in.)

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By 1877 art student Seurat had advanced from copying ancient sculptures and casts to drawing from live models at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. An Indian Man was probably drawn from life, but the sitter is very different from the standard, muscular male nudes who appear in sketches by Seurat and other academic pupils from this period. The sagging, aged body, long beard, and topknot identify him as an elderly Indian man. The topknot and beard are sometimes worn by Hindu ascetics called sadhus, who live an austere, monkish existence. But the hairstyle is also characteristic of Sikhs, who, according to a religious tenet known as kes, never cut their hair and are required to comb it with a kangha, tie it in a topknot, and cover it in a turban.

Art + Ideas Podcast: Lee Hendrix on Noir


Madame Léopold Appert (Paris, France)

- 1993

Private Collection [sold, Picard, Paris, November 26, 1993, lot 2, to Jan Krugier.]

1993 - about 2008

Jan Krugier

- 2014

Sotheby's (London) [sold, From Goya to Picasso: Works from the Private Collection of Jan Krugier, Sotheby's, London, February 6, 2014, lot 165, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Recent Acquisitions in Context (June 3 to August 24, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 3 to August 24, 2014
Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th Century French Drawings and Prints (February 9, 2016 to May 15, 2016) (Cat. 59)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 9 to May 15, 2016

Hauke, Cesar M. de, Seurat et son oeuvre (Paris: Gründ, 1961), 2 vols, vol. II, no. 282, ill. p. 21.

Herbert, Robert L. Seurat's Drawings (New York: Shorewood Publ., 1962), p. 23, no. 21.

Russel, John. Seurat (London: Thames and Hudson, 1965), no. 11, ill. p. 21.

Madeleine-Perdrillat, Alain. Seurat (New York: Rizzoli, 1990), p. 19, ill.

Hendrix, Lee, "Seurat and Pichot: Charcoal Life Drawings of an Indian Holy Man". Master Drawings 53, no.4 (2015), pp. 519-522, pp. 519-22.

Hendrix, Lee, ed. Noir: The Romance of Black in the 19th-Century French Drawings and Prints, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016), p. 162, no. 59, fig. 59.

Related Media
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    Audio: Indian Holy Man