Painted by George Seurat, "Les Poseuses" picture represents three models getting dressed up after a bath and a catwalk show. The artist worked on it from 1886 to 1888. Seurat was born in Paris in December 1859 and died there in March 1891.
He was a painter and a draughtsman and the founder of Neo-Impressionism. Young Seurat was strongly influenced by Rembrandt and Francisco de Goya.
In his short career as a mature artist (c . 1882–91), he produced highly sophisticated drawings and invented the Divisionist technique of painting known as Pointillisme, which was taken up by many of his contemporaries associated with Neo-Impressionism like Pissarro, Sisley and Signac. His application of scientific principles to painting and his stress on the surface quality of his work have had lasting effects on 20th-century art.
When one looks at the Pointillism that Seurat invented and marvels at the precision of thousands upon thousands of tiny dots of color -all created by one human hand! - it is mind-boggling to consider that he produced dozens of such labor-intensive canvases in the span of less than 10 years.
Seurat kept his life very secret and not until his premature death his friends and colleagues learnt about his mistress who was the model for his painting. In 1970, the picture was in the collection of Henry P. McIlhenny, a Philadelphia collector. When it came up for sale this same year, one critic said that it was one of the three or four most beautiful works of Art to come to the international Art market since WW2.
It was bought for $ 1,033 million by Artemis, a joint venture recently established between the Baron Lambert (Brussels) and Baron Elie de Rothschild (Paris) to buy art works, lend them to museums and after having been appreciated by the public and a lot of art dealers to resale them with a profit.
NB : This Artemis company must not be confused with the Artemis holding of Mr Francois Pinault who bought a controlling stake in Christie's auction house in 1998.