In 1886, in the rooms of what was to be the last exhibition of the Impressionist group, there were included a number of younger artists who, aware of the crisis within the movement, intended to update its language. Georges Seurat, the leader of this new trend, championed the necessity of giving Impressionism a more modern dimension, which he called “scientific”. The new style, known as Pointillism because of the way in which the paint is applied, is not therefore a revolution with respect to Impressionism, but one of its possible evolutions. Seurat sought to systematise a principle that the founders of movement had investigated in theory but disregarded in practice: not mixing the colours on the palette but allowing the retina of the viewer to do so by creating a dense system of dots of pure colour, juxtaposed according to precise laws of optics and visual perception, which, when viewed at the right distance, would merge together optically. This scientific procedure enabled the artist, once he had established the tones he wished to obtain, to work under any lighting conditions, including artificial illumination. With Pointillism, the era of plein-air painting, which had characterised the art of the Impressionist generation, thus came to an end. Seurat died young, and his friend Paul Signac took his place as head of the school. In his views of Saint Tropez, Avignon, and the Atlantic coastal resorts, such as this splendid seascape at La Rochelle, the tiny dots of the Pointillism’s first phase are translated into broader, more geometric brushstrokes, like a vibrant mosaic of light, soaked in shades of blue with pink and yellow highlights.