who owns seurat sunday afternoon on the island of la grande jatte
The painting depicts fashionable Parisians enjoying a Sunday afternoon at a popular beauty spot located on the River Seine between Neuilly and Levallois-Perret. While his earlier Bathers at Asnieres depicted the working class left-bank of the river, this work shows the bourgeois right-bank at La Grande Jatte. Thus, for instance, in contrast to the unremitting heat of Asnieres, La Grande Jatte has plenty of cool shade in which to escape the sun.
In 1881, after studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, followed by a short spell of military service, Seurat opened a small painter’s studio in Paris while continuing his studies on the tonal effects of colour, with a series of conte crayon drawings. He was determined to develop an intellectual style of painting that would open up new possibilities for art. The technique he settled on – later nicknamed ‘Pointillism’ by the art critic Felix Feneon (1861-1944) – involved the use of small touches of pure colour, which are not mixed but placed side by side on the canvas. When viewed from a certain distance, these touches of colour blend together. In effect, the colour pigments are mixed together by the eye, rather than by the artist. The whole idea is to make the colours more luminous and shimmering than they would be if mixed on the palette. See also: Colour Theory in Fine Art Painting.
Paul Signac, “The Pine Tree at Saint-Tropez,” 1909 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)
Georges Seurat, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” 1884-1886 (Photo: The Art Institute of Chicago Public Domain)
In 1923, Frederic Bartlett was appointed trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago. He and his second wife, Helen Birch Bartlett, loaned their collection of French Post-Impressionist and Modernist art to the museum. It was Mrs. Bartlett who had an interest in French and avant-garde artists and influenced her husband’s collecting tastes. Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte was purchased on the advice of the Art Institute of Chicago’s curatorial staff in 1924. 
The painting was the inspiration for a commemorative poster printed for the 1993 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, with racing cars and the Detroit skyline added.
Interestingly, notable Marxist historian and philosopher Ernest Bloch was one of the 20th century‘s forerunners of drawing social and political significance from Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte – the historian’s focal point was Seurat’s robotic use of the figures that he saw as being symbols for the static nature of the French society at the time.
It is only after close inspection that the viewer sees some curious things happening. The lady on the right side has a monkey on a leash. The lady on the left that’s fishing is a metaphor for prostitution, something this part of Paris was well-known for back in the day. In the painting’s center stands a little girl dressed in white, the only figure that is not in a shadow. She stares directly at the viewer as if she’s silently questioning the audience.
The ‘Ile de la Grande Jatte’ translates as ‘Big Bowl Island’ and the immense work by Georges Seurat perfectly depicts it’s character. The island itself is a mile long and located on the Seine in the Neuilly-sur-Seine department of Paris and represented a high class get away for the Parisian community.
So, the painting is about people gathering around outside on a nice, warm, and sunny Sunday afternoon in the park. There are lots of people in the picture. Some are sitting down and appear to be having a picnic. The river to the left is full of yachts and rowing boats. The river bank on the right has a slight incline and is populated by people of different ages. Perhaps the crowd is lazily witnessing a boat race? A relaxed ambience is presented.