Georges Seurat was born in Paris. He first studied art with a sculptor Justin Lequiene. Seurat attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1878 and 1879. After a year of service at Brest military academy, he returned to Paris and shared a small studio on the Left Bank with two student friends before moving to a studio of his own. For the next two years, he devoted himself to mastering the art of black and white drawing. He spent 1883 on his first major painting - a huge canvas titled Bathers at Asnieres.
After his painting was rejected by the Paris Salon, Seurat turned away from such establishments, instead allying himself with the independent artists of Paris. In 1884 he and other artists (including Maximilien Luce) formed the Societe des Artistes Independent. There he met and befriended fellow artist Paul Signac. Seurat shared his new ideas about pointillism with Signac, who subsequently painted in the same idiom. In the summer of 1884, Seurat began work on his masterpiece, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, which took him two years to complete.