135 years ago today, the Second Salon exhibition by the ‘Society of Independent Artists’ opened in Paris, dominated by Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, an immense painting that virtually launched the Neo-Impressionist movement.
Seurat’s most famous work took him almost two years to complete, using his pointillist technique of tiny dots and brush strokes, upon a canvas measuring 7 by 10 feet (2×3 meters).
With the composition—which depicts Parisians at a park on the banks of the River Seine— Seurat was immediately acknowledged as the leader of a new and rebellious form of Impressionism called Neo-Impressionism.
Seurat had been a founder of the Société des Artistes Indépendants two years earlier, along with Cézanne, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro, and others. As a painter, Seurat wanted to make a difference in the history of art, and with La Grand Jatte, now held in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, many say that he succeeded. (1886)
MORE Good News On This Day
- Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuted in Moscow (1882)
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force, saying, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,” as pilots were fighting the Battle of Britain, a pivotal air battle with the Germans to halt a Nazi invasion (1940)
- Senegal broke from the Mali federation and declared independence (1960)
- US President Lyndon Johnson signed a nearly $1 billion anti-poverty measure (1964)
- Estonia, the country where video conferencing tool Skype was developed, claimed independence after being occupied by the Soviet military for over 50 years (1991)
- After rounds of negotiations in Norway, the Oslo Peace Accords were signed (1993)
101 years ago today, WWJ Radio began broadcasting in Detroit, Michigan. Claiming to be the place where “commercial radio broadcasting began,” WWJ began with the daily “Detroit News Radiophone” established in the newspaper’s headquarters building and operating under an amateur radio license with the call sign “8MK”.
In 1902 Thomas E. Clark began supplying vessels in the Great Lakes region with radio, and requested financing from the Detroit News to build a powerful radio station. Most radio transmissions at this time were still being sent with the dots-and-dashes of Morse code, but eventually, William E. Scripps, the then-publisher of the Detroit News, embraced the breakthrough development of vacuum-tube transmitters and determined they could reach a large audience—and the did. (1920)
Happy 73rd Birthday to singer-songwriter Robert Plant, whose 4th album with Led Zeppelin (which included Stairway to Heaven) sold more than 37 million copies. The charismatic rock-and-roll front man with his powerful and wide vocal range was ranked #15 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Greatest Singers of All Time list. He also scored a Grammy win for his 2007 album Raising Sand with Alison Krauss. (1948)
Happy 67th Birthday to Al Roker, the American television personality, co-host, and weather anchor on NBC’s Today. In 2014, Roker set the Guinness World Record for uninterrupted live weather reporting after 34 hours of continual forecasts—snd the Today Show Plaza was officially named the ‘Rokerfeller Plaza’ in his honor. Born in Queens, New York, he is the author of several cook books and history books on floods disasters; and a 2014 book about changing his life as he shed 160 pounds—Never Goin’ Back: Winning the Weight Loss Battle For Good. (1954)
And, on this day in 1977, NASA launched Voyager 2 towards Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune. Still in operation today after 41 years, it is the only spacecraft to have visited either of the latter two ice giants. It is currently studying the outer reaches of the Solar System, and remains in contact with the U.S. through the Deep Space Network operated in cooperation with Australia and Spain. WATCH a NASA 40th Anniversary video…
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