Born in Paris on 2 December 1859, Georges Seurat studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts from 1878 to 1879 in the studio of Henri Lehmann. At the end of 1879 he began military service at Brest on the coast of Brittany. Returning to Paris in November 1880, he took a studio and for the next few years devoted himself to drawing. In 1883 he exhibited a drawing of his friend Edmond Aman-Jean at the Salon. Inspired by the writings of Eugène Delacroix, Charles Blanc, Michel-Eugène Chevreul, and the American Ogden Rood, Seurat began to paint according to theories of 'simultaneous colour contrast': the juxtaposition of pure colours to create a brighter effect than that produced by pigmentary mixture. His scientific bent also led him to look into Charles Henry's research on the expressive power of lines - horizontals providing a source of calm, descending lines provoking sadness, and so on.
In 1884 he exhibited at the first exhibition of the Société des Artistes Indépendants, a loose grouping of artists who rejected the principle of an admissions jury. From 1885 he spent almost every summer on the Normandy coast. At the invitation of Camille Pissarro he exhibited with the eighth, and last, Impressionist Exhibition in 1886 and in that year was also invited to exhibit with the group Les XX in Brussels. He exhibited with Les XX again in 1887, 1889 and 1891. In 1890 a biography of Seurat written by Jules Christophe appeared in the serial magazine Les Hommes d'aujourd'hui [Men of today]. After a brief illness, variously described as infectious angina or a form of meningitis, Seurat died in Paris on 29 March 1891 at the age of thirty-one.