Special Installation: The Art of the Pastel

November 22, 2008 - February 16, 2009

Pastel has long been embraced as an exceptionally versatile and effective drawing technique. 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, is extremely fragile due to the powdery nature of the medium. This installation featuring pastels from the permanent collection highlights the range of styles and subjects explored by nineteenth-century artists using this delicate yet spirited technique, and includes works by Edgar Degas, Jean-François Millet, Camille Pissarro, and Mary Cassatt.

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