Seurat's "Les Poseuses" (Small Version), 1888-1975

Hans Haacke

Cologne, Germany, 1936
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Typographic print on paper
  • Descriptive technique: 
    A work made up of a reproduction of Georges Seurat's painting "Les Poseuses" and 14 panels with texts
  • Dimensions: 
    Overall: variable dimensions / Part 01: 59,3 x 69,2 cm / Parts 02-15: 76,2 x 50,8 cm
  • Edition/serial number: 
  • Category: 
    Installation, Graphic art
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

Seurat’s "Les Poseuses" (Small Version) 1888-1975 documents a case study on the process by which the art market allows fluctuations in the value of an artwork, making it a consumer object and altering or neutralising its original meanings. The work underlines the changes in ownership of neo-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat’s Les Poseuses, currently exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. In the piece, Hans Haacke undertakes a research process the final outcome of which is a group of framed panels alongside a photographic reproduction of the painting. The panels describe the owners’ biographical details, including obscure political or ideological connections, and the acquisition information: purchase, inheritance or expropriation. Seurat’s «Les Poseuses» (Small Version) 1888-1975 is a crucial chapter in Haacke’s evolution towards institutional criticism, whereby he draws attention to the financial or ideological interests behind cultural institutions, sponsorship and collecting, erasing any possible concept of art as a neutral space. At the same time, the piece shows the artist’s new status as sociologist who, using research tools available to any citizen of a democratic country (archives, property registers, government records, etc.), reveals everything hidden behind the surface varnish of the arts.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio

Hans Haacke
Artworks in the Collection