A Take on Seurat, Unseen Since the ’70s

Hilary Moss, T Magazine, November 5, 2015

“Years ago,” says Roberta Cerini Baj, the widow of the Italian neo-avant garde artist Enrico Baj, “I remember that my daughter, Marianna, told Enrico, ‘When you see paintings in the house, you treat them like friends. When you see them outside of it, in an exhibition, they look totally different.’ And usually, this is true” — though not in the case of Luxembourg & Dayan’s current gathering of her husband’s pieces. The intimate gallery, which is wallpapered and homey, is filled with 50 works by the late artist. Among them is “The Double Grande Jatte,” her husband’s homage to and spin on Georges Seurat’s exercise in pointillism, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Its inclusion represents a reunion for Roberta, who last saw “The Double Grande Jatte” when it was on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in 1971. “I found it so fresh here,” she remarks. “When he was making it, we were in an apartment in Milan and there was a door between the living room and the studio,” and the 20-foot-long mural ran parallel to the door jambs. “It was in front of us all of the time and at the end, Enrico said, ‘I understand now why Seurat died so young, from getting bored of making all of those points.’” A quip, sure, but fitting for someone consumed by the need for change.