Drawing Acquisitions at the Getty
There are virtually no examples of pontillism in Los Angeles. The best example debuts in the Getty's upcoming drawing show, "Capturing Nature's Beauty: Three Centuries of French Landscapes." It's a recently acquired watercolor, "The Banks of the Marne at Dawn," by the relatively obscure Albert Dubois-Pillet, a friend of Seurat's and early adopter of neoimpressionism. Dubois-Pillet's stock rose with the Musée d'Orsay's 2005 survey of pontillism, in which some critics felt he was a surprise star. The Getty drawing is a variant of a Musée d'Orsay painting, probably the artist's most visible. It replaces the gray sky with orange and abstracts the skyline, suggesting that it was created later as an independent work. Dubois-Pillet was an artist-soldier, a difficult hyphenate reflected in his name. He added Pillet, his mother's maiden name, to his signature to conceal his defiance of army orders to stop exhibiting. Like Seurat, Dubois-Pillet died young, and his works are rare.
The "French Landscapes" show also includes a watercolor of a volcano by the writer George Sand (a rare 2009 purchase, given the Getty's strict acquistions diet). Another literary buy is a Gustave Doré design for one of his illustrations to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."