Admirers of Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" have Frederic Clay Bartlett to thank for the pictures permanent exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Bartlett was born into a tremendously wealthy Chicago family, and decided to pursue a career in art. He first studied at the city's Art Institute, and then headed to Munich under Nicholas Gysis. He then traveled to Paris where he would learn from Aman-Jean and Whistler. He was, by that time, a strong supporter of the avant garde, but he painted in the neo-classic style.
When he returned to the United States he opened his own studio in Chicago and received many commissions for mural work. He was also exhibiting his easel paintings, and began to win awards and medals for his works.
Around 1910 Bartlett began experimenting with several styles, including Post-Impressionism and Tonalism, which he used for his easel paintings of large landscapes and architectural images. Additionally, his wife began to appear in his works from this era as well, where she would be framed in light or placed in a garden.
Both he and his wife were strong advocates of art, and believed that their hometown of Chicago should have its own fair share of modern art on display. They had slowly built their own collection of modern art, and donated it to the Chicago Art Institute, including Seurat's masterpiece, which had been offered to the Louvre upon the death of the artist, and summarily refused.
Bartlett had exhibited widely during his career, and his works are in several major museums. The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in Fort Lauderdale, Florida has over sixty of Bartlett's works on display as well as the contents of his studio.