Young Woman Powdering Herself is a neo-impressionist painting by Georges Seurat created between 1889-1890. The artwork features a woman at her toilette, powdering her face. It is an oil on canvas that belongs to the Samuel Courtauld collection and is displayed in the Courtauld Gallery in London. The modulation of light and shadow on the wall is achieved with the use of small dots of pure color, and the artwork is an example of pointillism.
Seurat was inspired to create this painting by Manet’s ‘Nana’, which also features a woman in front of a mirror. However, unlike Manet’s painting, Seurat’s artwork depicts a single figure. The woman in the painting is actually Seurat’s mistress, Madeleine Knobloch. As a result, the painting takes on a personal meaning, and it is an anomaly within Seurat’s body of work.
The painting was exhibited at the Salon des Independants in 1890, and it is considered a significant example of pointillism. Seurat’s use of small dots of pure color creates an optical illusion that allows the viewer’s eyes to blend the colors together, creating a perception of depth and luminosity. Overall, Young Woman Powdering Herself is an excellent example of Seurat’s innovative style and his ability to use pointillism to create an incredible piece of art.