Research point: Optical effects/Pointillism

Pointillism was pioneered by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac during the 1800’s in France. Other artists in that group were Henri-Edmond Cross and Maximilien Luce.

Van Gogh, Mondrian and Kandinsky have all used the pointillist technique at some point in their work. Van Gogh briefly used pointillist technique, as he knew both Seurat and Signac, so he would have been influenced by them to a degree.


Pointillism is the application of paint in dots of unmixed colour. This technique owed much to the findings of Michel Chevreul in his work for Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours. The juxtaposition of complementary colours enhanced each other’s intensity. Another artist who employed this technique in some of his work was Camille Pissarro. I have always loved his work, here are a few examples:


Bridget Riley
We are also asked to look at the work of British Op artist, Bridget Riley. I seem to remember that I was introduced to her work whilst I was at high school round about 1967 in Yorkshire (in 1968, I emigrated to South Africa with my parents). I was very interested in her geometric/graphic design style of work and tried to recreate it in a lot of my early paintings when I was a teenager.

I may add to this post at a later date, as I still want to try and find some pointillist paintings done by Picasso.

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