1888
Study for Invitation to the Sideshow
By the late 1880s, there were those who were convinced (albeit mistakenly) that the subdued behavior of Seurat's figures in La Grande Jatte, was due to a lack of technical ability, and was better suited to landscapes. As if to demonstrate otherwise, the major works of his later career dealt mostly with livelier subject matter, such as the night life of Paris.

Seurat was a regular visitor to the Cirque Corvi, which performed every year in Paris at the Place de la Nation. This celebration is featured in a painting entitled Invitation to the Sideshow (La Parade de Cirque).

Here we see an 1887-88 Study, for which the major components are already carefully aligned at an early stage, much like the final version of La Grande Jatte. In a decision unique to his works, the major color scheme is starkly laid out against an ochre background -- perhaps to facilitate study of the juxtposition of bright, contrasting colors. The trombone player is carefully positioned in the center. This does not render the composition static; rather, it enables the deliberate composition of the scene, drawing a distinction between the row of musicians to the left, and the conductor to the right. Below, we see some indication of onlookers, if only barely defined...
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