Pastels by Degas, Pissarro, Cassatt, and Millet on View at the Clark Beginning November 22

For Immediate Release

November 10, 2008

Pastel has long been embraced as an exceptionally versatile and effective drawing technique. The Art of the Pastel at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute will feature nine works by Edgar Degas, Jean-François Millet, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, and others. The pastels will be on view November 22, 2008, through February 16, 2009. 

The Art of the Pastel highlights the range of styles and subjects explored by nineteenth-century artists using this delicate yet spirited technique. Included are Méry Laurent Wearing a Small Toque by Édouard Manet; Entrance of the Masked Dancers by Edgar Degas; Boulevard de Clichy, Effect of Winter Sunlight by Camille Pissarro; Portrait of Mrs. Cyrus J. Lawrence with Grandson R. Lawrence Oakley, Simone in a White Bonnet, and Child in a Red Hat by Mary Cassatt; Little Girl with a Pear by Frederick Childe Hassam; Madame Maugey-Rosengart and a Dog in an Interior by Edouard Vuillard; The Sower by Jean-François Millet.

A favored medium for portraiture since the eighteenth century, the pastel crayon—composed of vibrant pigments and gum-based binders—produces colored lines with fluidity and flexibility, allowing artists to create quickly conceived, luminous designs which can then be manipulated through layering, smudging, and blending. The resultant image, while similar in effect to a finished oil painting, can be extremely fragile due to the powdery nature of the medium.

The Clark’s outstanding collection of pastels has been an important feature since the museum’s founding. From Sterling and Francine Clark’s purchase of Entrance of the Masked Dancers in 1927, to the addition of Pissarro’s Boulevard de Clichy in 1996, the collection has expanded to include key works by prominent artists in the medium, exploring the art of the pastel as it was practiced throughout the nineteenth century. The Clark has more than 5,000 prints, drawings, and photographs, which are available for viewing in the print study room by advance appointment. To schedule an appointment, call (413) 458-0560 or email

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit


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