Woman Strolling (Une élégante)
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Georges Seurat
French, about 1884
Conté crayon on Michallet paper
12 1/2 x 9 7/16 in.

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The graceful woman in this drawing appears in the midst of a leisurely stroll, with her shadow falling beside her and one hand gently clutching the handle of her umbrella. The veil of her brimmed hat conceals her face, but her slender figure and erect posture convey that she is a refined young woman--an impression sustained by the fashionable fur-trimmed coat that envelops her.

Georges Seurat drew this elegant profile as a series of geometric volumes animated by the play of light and shade. Rather than drawing individual lines, he rubbed roughly textured paper with greasy Conté crayon, creating a large shadowy mass. By combining various densities of crayon--darker for the figure, light and feathery for the background--Seurat explored a concept he called "irradiation." According to his theory, light and dark tones mutually enhance each other as they come together. The glowing halo surrounding the poised figure exemplifies this theory.