ppastel - Pigments mixed with gum and water, and pressed into a dried stick form for use as crayons. Works of art done with such pigments are also called pastels.

Chalk is similar to pastel, but more tightly bound.

A picture made with pastels may be called either a drawing or a painting. The principal reason to call it one or the other has nothing to do with whether it has ever been wet. It has entirely to do with whether the resulting image is more linear or more painterly — showing shapes or forms created with patches of color, exploiting color and tonal relationships.

The term "pastel" has been used by some to mean tints or pale colors — soft colors, lightened with white — having little saturation and great lightness. (Brilliant colors, although they too are very light in value, are strongly saturated.) Pastel was first used in this sense by American fashion writers in 1899. The use of "pastel" in this sense might be understood in context, but art writers are generally wise to avoid using it in order to avoid confusing their readers.

(pr. pass-tell')

Examples are:



see thumbnail to leftJean-Étienne Liotard (Swiss, 1702-1789), Portrait of Maria Frederike van Reede-Athlone at Seven Years of Age, 1755-1756, pastel on vellum, 22 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches (57.2 x 47 cm), J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, CA. See portrait.



see thumbnail to rightJohn Singleton Copley (American, 1738-1815), Hugh Hall, 1758, pastel on paper mounted on canvas, 15 1/2 x 13 inches (39.4 x 33 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.



Edgar Degas (born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas) (French, 1834-1917), Ballet Rehearsal, 1875, gouache and pastel on canvas, 21 3/4 x 27inches, George G. Frelinghuysen Collection, NY. Also see dance and Impressionism.



Edgar Degas, La Lecon de Danse (The Dancing Lesson), c. 1877, pastel over monoprint on paper, 23 x 28 5/8 inches, Portland Art Museum, ME.




see thumbnail to leftEdgar Degas, Singer with a Glove, c. 1878, pastel and liquid medium on canvas, 20 3/4 x 16 inches (52.8 x 41.1 cm), Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.




see thumbnail to rightEdgar Degas, At the Milliner's, c. 1882, pastel on paper, 27 5/8 x 27 3/4 inches, (70.2 x 70.5 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.



Edgar Degas, Dancers, c. 1896, pastel on paper, Cleveland Museum of Art.





see thumbnail to leftEdgar Degas, Three Ballet Dancers, One with Dark Crimson Waist, 1899, pastel on paper, 23 1/4 x 19 1/4 inches, Barnes Foundation.




see thumbnail to rightOdilon Redon (French, 1840-1916), Madame Arthur Fontaine (Marie Escudier), 1901, pastel on paper, 28 1/2 x 22 1/2 inches (72.4 x 57.2 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Symbolism.




see thumbnail to leftOdilon Redon, Roger and Angelica, c. 1910, pastel on paper, 36 1/2 x 28 3/4 inches (92.7 x 73 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.



Berthe Morisot (French, 1841-1895), A Village (the village of Maurecourt), pastel on paper, 18 1/2 x 28 1/4 inches (47 x 72 cm), private collection, New York.





see thumbnail to rightMary Cassatt (American, 1845-1926), Agatha and Her Child, 1891, pastel on paper, 26 x 21 inches (66.1 x 53.3 cm), Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH. See American Impressionism.




see thumbnail to leftMary Cassatt, Baby's First Caress, 1891, pastel on paper, New Britain Museum of Art, CT.






see thumbnail to rightWilliam Merritt Chase (American, 1849-1916), The White Rose, c. 1886, pastel on paper on canvas, Phoenix Art Museum, AZ. See Ten American Painters.




see thumbnail to leftNatalya S. Goncharova (Russian, 1881-1962), Rayonist Composition, c. 1912-3, pastel on paper, 31.8 x 21.6 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See Rayonism.






see thumbnail to rightMax Weber (American, born Russia, 1881-1961), Slide Lecture at the Metropolitan Museum, 1916, pastel on paper, 24 1/2 x 18 3/4 inches (62.2 x 47.5 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.




see thumbnail to leftGeorgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986), A Storm, 1922, pastel on paper, mounted on illustration board, 18 1/4 x 24 3/8 inches (46.4 x 61.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See feminism and feminist art.





see thumbnail to rightGeorgia O'Keefe, Pink Shell with Seaweed, c. 1937, 22 x 28 inches, pastel on paper, San Diego Museum of Art, CA. See enlargement, nature, and volute.




see thumbnail to leftPaul Cadmus (1904-1999), Male Nude, c. 1960s, pastel on paper, 14 x 23 3/4 inches, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art & Design, Kansas City, MO. See nude.





see thumbnail to rightPaula Rego (Portuguese, lives and works in England, 1935-), Recreation, 1996, pastel on paper mounted on aluminum, 66 7/8 x 51 1/4 inches, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO.




see thumbnail to leftEd Ruscha (American, 1937-), Purely Polyester, 1977, pastel on paper, 23 x 29 inches, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO. See text.





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Also see charcoal, conté crayon, dark, oil pastel, sketch, study, stump, and torchon.






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