Pointillism or dot painting is one of the most unique methods of producing artwork in modern times.
It was first developed by a handful of French painters during the late 19th century at the end of the Impressionist movement when a variety of new painting styles were emerging within Paris and other parts of the world.
In this article, we’ll examine 10 of the most famous pointillism paintings and discuss more details about the artists that created them.
Famous Pointillism Paintings
1. Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte – Georges Seurat
Georges Seurat is considered to be the father of the pointillism movement and is known to have created many of the works that critics, historians and scholars consider to be among the greatest masterpieces of the style.
For the first part of his career, he painted in a style that would be comparable to most other Impressionist artists, but later in his life, he began to experiment with different methods of artistic expression.
One of Seurat’s greatest masterpieces, and a painting that many critics and historians consider to be among the most notable works of the time period, is known as Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
The painting was finished in 1886 and Seurat was known to have spent nearly two full years working on the painting before it was fully complete.
The subject of the work is one that displays a small glimpse into life and leisure for French society during the mid-to-late 19th century. It depicts people lounging on the banks of the Seine on a beautiful day
2. Entrance to the Grand Canal, Venice – Paul Signac
Paul Signac was another that many consider to be one of the greatest of the pointillism artists. He was a close colleague of Seurat and actually worked to establish the pointillism style.
Many of Signac’s paintings focus on life along the coast of France and the various activities that people enjoyed during this time.
Signac created a work in 1905 that many critics point to as the greatest work of the pointillism movement. The painting is titled Entrance to the Grand Canal, Venice and is an iconic representation of the city during this time period.
Signac’s distinct painting style masterfully highlights the colors of the water, as well as the sun’s light illuminates the structures and boats around the water’s edge.
3. Children on a Farm – Camille Pissarro
Camille Pissarro was one of the most notable artists from the 19th century and many of his works are among the greatest paintings from the Impressionist movement.
Like many other painters during this era, Pissarro experimented with a range of different styles of expression, including pointillism.
Pissarro often created works that centered around the simple nature of life for many French people. One of his most notable works is titled Children on a Farm and was finished in 1887.
This painting depicts a young boy and girl and displays Pissarro’s outstanding ability to portray the sun’s light in his works. Pissarro is recognized as one of the more talented pointillism artists, despite the fact that he only produced a small number of works in this particular style.
4. Portrait of Madame Charles Maus – Theo van Rysselsberghe
Theo van Rysselsberghe is another prominent artist from the pointillism movement that produced what many critics and historians recognize as the greatest paintings done in the pointillism style.
Van Rysselsberghe began his career working in the Impressionist style that was common during the latter half of the 19th century.
He produced works in the pointillism style that focused on a range of different subjects, many of them depicting life as it was for people in his native Belgium.
Van Rysselsberghe produced one of his greatest works in 1890. The painting was titled Portrait of Madame Charles Maus and depicts the wife of Octave Maus, one of van Rysselsberghe’s closest friends and colleagues during the late 1800’s.
The famous portrait portray’s Maus’ wife in stunning detail considering the fact that van Rysselsberghe used the pointillism style to create the work.
5. L’Hirondelle Steamer on the Seine – Paul Signac
Another one of Paul Signac’s most well-known pointillism paintings is considered to be one of the greatest works within the genre, which lasted much shorter than most other art movements that sprang up in recent centuries.
Signac was known to create works that depicted landscapes and cityscapes that represented some of his favorite locations throughout Europe.
One of these works was titled L’Hirondelle Steamer on the Seine and was completed in 1901. The painting depicts a unique perspective of the famous river as Signac chose to portray the work as if it were looking through the eyes of another boat on the river, looking directly down the length of the waterway.
6. The port of Saint-Tropez – Maximilien Luce
Maximilien Luce is another notable French painter who lived during the late 19th and early 20th century.
He was a masterful artist in a variety of different areas that included the use of striking colors, light and darkness, as well as the distinct perspective that many of his works had.
Luce created what many critics and historians point to as his greatest pointillism work in 1893. This painting depicts the well-known port of Saint-Tropez, which is located along the southern coast of France between Nice and Marseille.
The artist focused the work on a sailing vessel that was held at the port with the busy streets and buildings visible in the background.
7. The Evening Air – Henri-Edmond Cross
Henri-Edmond Cross is recognized as a great artist among the many others within the pointillism style, but he is perhaps most well-known for his work within the style that some critics describe as Neo-Impressionism.
This movement combines the elements of pointillism and Impressionist painting methods to produce the same basic elements that Impressionist works are known for while being done in a method of artistic expression that uses pointillism instead of broad, sweeping brush strokes.
One of Cross’ most well-known paintings is titled The Evening Air and was done in 1894. This painting portrays a scene from the coast of southern France with a wide range of vibrant colors set against a brightly-illuminated skyline that features ships sailing in the background.
This painting was done in tandem alongside Georges Seurat, who also painted a work depicting the southern French coast.
8. Couple in the Street Charles – Charles Théophile Angrand
French artist Charles Théophile Angrand is another one of the most notable painters from the pointillism movement that took place during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Many of his works were done using oil-based paints, but he also worked in Conte crayon and a few other types of medium. His works often focused on people in outdoor settings which portrayed some of the everyday activities and scenery from France during this time period.
One of Angrand’s most famous pointillism works is titled Couple in the Street Charles. This 1887 painting was one that the artist did using oil-based paints, but he only used a select few colors in order to give the painting a black-and-white appearance that was comparable to the photographs being taken during the late 1800’s.
9. Self-Portrait 1887 – Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh is widely recognized as one of the greatest painters from the centuries since the Italian Renaissance. He is known as one of the most notable figures of the Post-Impressionist movement, but van Gogh’s talents were not relegated only to this style of artistic expression.
He is known to have produced a number of works in the pointillism style that display his expertise as an artist.
One of van Gogh’s most prominent pointillism paintings is known simply as Self-Portrait 1887. This portrait was done during a time when van Gogh’s mental health was fickle and he was in-between long-term stays in some of France’s asylums.
The painting is one of the most iconic self-portraits that van Gogh did near the end of his career and is one that is brimming with detail and realistic lighting effects, despite the fact that the artist only used short, punctual brush strokes.
10. Bridge in London – Jan Toorop
Jan Toorop was a prominent Dutch artist who was born in the Indonesian islands in 1858. He was known as one of the most talented painters from this time period and is still considered one of the greatest Dutch artists since Rembrandt’s time.
Whether Toorop was painting an image of a person or a landscape, his use of distinct colors and bold outlines gave his works a truly unique appearance that was unlike any other during this era.
One of Toorop’s most well-known cityscape paintings is titled Bridge in London and was done in 1889 when the pointillism movement had taken hold of most of Europe and gained popularity.
The work includes vibrant colors and Toorop does a masterful job of depicting the sun’s illumination on the London river and the city alongside its banks.