Pointillism describes a form of neo-impressionism from 1880-1910. Where impressionistic painting concentrated itself on the fleeting impression, color effects and moods and in this way prioritized the method of depiction over that which is depicted, the pointillists push color to the fore. Here, newly researched and complicated optical processes play an important role.
The scientifically proven theory of sight works with detailed color resolution. It is based on the principle that the individual color particles come together to form a complete impression in the observer’s eye strictly according to the law of color contrast.
Complementary color contrast is produced from two colors: one color that is created by two primary colors, and the primary color that is missing from this mixed color (green-red, purple-yellow, orange-blue). For this reason, pointillist artists use pure colors for the most part. Because complementary colors increase their intensity when they are shown next to each other, one of the first originators of pointillism, Georges Seurat, called his method of painting "chromoluminarism". It was critics who first renamed it post- or neo-impressionism, divisionism or pointillism. The latter is the most appropriate name, since it corresponds to the method: the pointillists reduced the color particles to small points and made a screen by linking these individual spots of paint into a harmonious form in the finished picture. Because pointillism is based solely on an optical theory and the paint choice is done purely scientifically, the picture can come into being entirely in the studio. In this respect, the pointillists differed clearly from the open-air painting of the impressionists.
The originators of pointillism were: Georges Seurat and Paul Signac; however, many other artists also experimented with this method of painting, for example: Bazille, Dufy, Henri Matisse, Sisley, Vlaminck.