Lot 398
  • 398

Georges Seurat

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
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  • Georges Seurat
  • À deux chevaux
  • stamped Seurat (lower left & lower right); signed G. Seurat on the reverse
  • Conté crayon on paper
  • 22.6 by 31cm., 8⅞ by 12¼in.


Madeleine Knoblock (probably)
Mme J.D., Paris (by 1908-09)
Camille Platteel, Paris
Melle Alix Guillain
Francis Ponge, Paris
Sale: Palais Galliéra, Paris, 30th November 1961, lot 74
Galerie Motte, Geneva
Private Collection, Switzerland
Sale: Sotheby's, London, 30th November 1988, lot 410
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Paris, Galerie Lafitte, Exposition de quelques peintures, aquarelles, dessins et eaux-fortes de Charles Agard, Eugène Delâtre, J.H. Lebasque, feu Georges Seurat, 1895
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune,  Rétrospective Georges Seurat, 1908-09, no. 147
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Les Dessins de Seurat, 1926, no. 54
Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Georges Seurat 1859-1891, 1991-92, no. 59 (Paris) and no. 60 (New York), illustrated in the catalogue
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, 1999, no. 127, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo. Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Coleccion Jan y Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2000, no. 152, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Vienna, Albertina Museum, Goya bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2005, no. 86, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Georges Seurat. The Drawings, 2007, no. 76, illustrated in colour in the catalogue 
Zurich, Kunsthaus Zürich; Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, Georges Seurat. Figure in space, 2009-10, no. 13, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Gustave Kahn, Les Dessins de Georges Seurat, vol. I, Paris, 1928, illustrated pl. 54
Jacques de Laprade, Georges Seurat, Monaco, 1945, no. 86, illustrated
César M. de Hauke, Seurat et son œuvre, Paris, 1961,  vol. II, no. 526, illustrated p. 121
Robert L. Herbert, Seurat's Drawings, New York, 1962, fig. 77, illustrated p. 82
Gustave Kahn, The Drawings of Georges Seurat, New York, 1971, no. 74, illustated n.p
Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat, Seurat, Geneva, 1990, illustrated p. 208
Linie, Licht und Schatten, Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski (exhbition catalogue), Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, 1999, illustrated p. 417
Louis Herbert Robert, Seurat Drawings and Paintings, New Haven & London, 2001, pp. 49-50, illustrated pl. 34 (dated circa 1882-83)


Executed on cream laid Michallet paper, not laid down, taped to the mount in three places along the upper edge, and floating in the overmount. The left edge is slightly uneven and there is a minor paper loss towards the upper left edge. There are two small tears towards the left part of the upper edge and possibly a minor repaired tear towards the centre of the left edge. There is a pin hole to the upper right corner and another to the centre of the lower edge. There are a few tape remnants from previous mounting visible on the reverse of the sheet. Otherwise this work is in overall good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Conté crayon was Seurat's preferred medium between 1882 and 1886. In most of these drawings, as in the present work, the solid shapes are made exclusively by subtle variations of light and dark; the subject of the work reveals itself slowly in the confident strokes of the artist’s crayon, including the horses at the right edge of the work and the high wheels of the cart behind them. All of this is partially obscured behind the darkest forms of the two tree trunks that stand in the immediate foreground, emphasising the sense of depth while also instilling, as a barred window, a sense of alienation from the scene within the viewer.

The key role of drawings in Seurat's career is clearly evident today—the posthumous inventory lists over 500 works on paper—and the artist himself considered his drawings on equal footing with his paintings, often submitting them to the same exhibitions without making strong distinctions between them. Seurat’s paintings are highly sophisticated colour studies based on optical science. The artist explored the complementary effect of adjacent colours. In his most successful pointillist works, Seurat uses this contrast to build a visual array of coruscating shades and tones, balancing and enhancing each other to achieve his compositions with minimal use of lines to delineate forms. This same exploration of contrast and aversion to descriptive line is evident in his graphic works. Dating from around 1883, this monochromatic composition was completed at the same time that the Impressionists were concentrating on nuances of colour. Like the Impressionists, Seurat was a keen observer of light, but his method for rendering the nuances of shadow in this picture was purely dependent on form. 'Even the silhouette-like figures from this period owe less to stark contrasts of light and dark than to soft transitions and nuances.  Their internal modeling is developed out of an interplay of form and tonal gradations, and their contours are more flowing than earlier, similar figures' (Erich Franz & Bernd Growe, Georges Seurat, Drawings, Boston, 1984, p. 64).