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Pastel

At once a colour scheme and a means to create art, the pastel has always been a complex element of art history. As a technique it rose to prominence during the Renaissance in France and Italy, and during the Enlightenment period it became ever more popular.

In a period dominated by portraiture, a genre strictly reserved for the noble classes, the pastel created a stir for its ability to do justice to the even most extravagant backgrounds. Thanks to the versatility of pastels, it was possible to create contrasts and textures to an astounding degree of realism. They perfectly recreate lightness, elegance and colour, so the technique was perfectly poised to depict a the closed off, privileged world of the elite. Pastel took over amongst artists, who all wanted to master this subtle new practice demanding huge skill and extraordinary control of colours. In 1665 the pastel achieved noble heights and was officially recognised alongside painting and sculpture upon its official approval by the Academy of Painting. The golden age of pastel duly began, epitomised by the likes Fragonard, the undisputed master of the genre. Alongside him were artists such as Liotard or La Tour, who left a legacy of artworks showing the splendour of the court, including the famous portrait of Madame du Pompadour.   

At the end of the 18th century, however, the storm of the Revolution blew through both society and the arts. The pastel was abruptly considered to be a symbol of aristocratic privilege and a hallmark of the old regime, and was cast aside and replaced by the bold strokes of oil painting. In addition to the censoring of pastels, the changing fashions of the time left no room for the pomp and extravagance which artists had been so fond of in the previous century.

In the 19th century the pastel wallowed in obsolescence until artists like Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec staged a miniature renaissance. The much reviled pastel fit in well with their iconoclastic movement, seeking to shock the society that they had begun to feel estranged from. Following this shift, the Symbolists also took up the pastel, finding it perfectly suited to the expression of their emotions – and particularly for their use of light, making the most of the softly blurred effect of the technique.

Today the pastel is still enjoying this second lease of life. Although collectors are still interested in the resilient pigments of the previous centuries, artists are exploring new avenues. Pastels can be used without any intermediary materials and in conjunction with a huge range of other mediums; from sketching to drawing to quality paintings. Its hybrid aesthetic, effortlessly soft or violent, is seducing more and more artists who are rediscovering the medium and its rich history. Artsper invites you to discover our selection of pastel artworks.

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Manuel Santelices, Valentino hat fall, Painting

Manuel Santelices

Valentino hat fall, 2019
12 x 9 x 0.1 inch
Painting

$500

Stéphane Gisclard, Belle de dos, Fine Art Drawings

Stéphane Gisclard

Belle de dos, 2017
25.6 x 19.7 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,133

Our recommendations Thomas Verny, Lodeve I, Fine Art Drawings

Thomas Verny

Lodeve I, 2014
7.1 x 9.8 x 0.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$663

Paul Aïzpiri, Sans Titre, Fine Art Drawings

Paul Aïzpiri

Sans Titre, 1980
16.5 x 12.6 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,446

Anastasiya Akulova, Plum bow, Fine Art Drawings

Anastasiya Akulova

Plum bow, 2021
19.7 x 15.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$446

Kerstin Paillard, Decibels, Painting

Kerstin Paillard

Decibels, 2017
19.7 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,446

Kevin Perkins, Untitled, Fine Art Drawings

Kevin Perkins

Untitled, 2019
33.9 x 23.6 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,410

Kim YOUNG JOO, Soleil levant 1979 Rising Sun. Soleil levant sur la montagne, Rising sun on mountains, Painting

Kim YOUNG JOO

Soleil levant 1979 Rising Sun. Soleil levant sur la montagne, Rising sun on mountains, 1979
29.9 x 29.9 x 0.4 inch
Painting

$2,349

Eva Klötgen, Vol blanc, Painting

Eva Klötgen

Vol blanc, 2015
59.1 x 47.2 x 2 inch
Painting

$5,904

Radlinska, Nudes, Fine Art Drawings

Radlinska

Nudes, 1996
27.6 x 39.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$663

Jéko, Tellement mieux, Painting

Jéko

Tellement mieux, 2021
25.6 x 19.7 x 0.1 inch
Painting

$1,084

Jéko, Portrait #2, Fine Art Drawings

Jéko

Portrait #2, 2020
11.7 x 8.3 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$458

Gina Vor, Biology 5 | Aquarelle Abstraite, Painting

Gina Vor

Biology 5 | Aquarelle Abstraite, 2019
12.6 x 9.4 x 0 inch
Painting

$157

Timothy Archer, La guetteuse attentive, Painting

Timothy Archer

La guetteuse attentive, 2017
25.6 x 19.7 inch
Painting

$3,012

Our recommendations David Brammeld, Woodland Walk, Painting

David Brammeld

Woodland Walk, 2019
10 x 13 x 1 inch
Painting

$1,179

Parmis Sayous, Sans titre #2, Painting

Parmis Sayous

Sans titre #2, 2017
39.4 x 39.4 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$5,422

Laurent Chabrillat, Les 3 arbres, Painting

Laurent Chabrillat

Les 3 arbres, 2018
19.7 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$578

Fieroza Doorsen, Untitled 1513, Painting

Fieroza Doorsen

Untitled 1513, 2015
9.1 x 6.7 inch
Painting

$1,836

Louisette Evrard, Chemin en forêt, Painting

Louisette Evrard

Chemin en forêt, 2015
15.4 x 11.8 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$651

Parmis Sayous, La propriétaire #3, Fine Art Drawings

Parmis Sayous

La propriétaire #3, 2018
25.6 x 19.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,012

Isabelle Alberge, Interprétation, marais salants 6, Painting

Isabelle Alberge

Interprétation, marais salants 6, 2020
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$506

Alexander Daniloff, Eco e Narciso, Painting

Alexander Daniloff

Eco e Narciso, 2014
27.6 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,096

Julien Wolf, Hyperlaxité mobile, Fine Art Drawings

Julien Wolf

Hyperlaxité mobile, 2020
51.2 x 39.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,012

Sylvia Katuszewski, Reflets #6, Fine Art Drawings

Sylvia Katuszewski

Reflets #6, 2014
50.4 x 18.9 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$3,494

Daniela Pasqualini, Twilight Romance IV, Painting

Daniela Pasqualini

Twilight Romance IV, 2020
9 x 9 x 1 inch
Painting

$350

Our recommendations Marguerite Wibaux, Patience, Fine Art Drawings

Marguerite Wibaux

Patience, 2021
15.7 x 11.8 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$422

Linda Bachammar Clerget, Christina, Painting

Linda Bachammar Clerget

Christina, 2020
27.6 x 19.7 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$1,446

Linda Bachammar Clerget, Nadja, Painting

Linda Bachammar Clerget

Nadja, 2020
39.4 x 27.6 x 0.2 inch
Painting

$1,687

Fiona Weedon, Fiona Weedon: Terra 1, Painting

Fiona Weedon

Fiona Weedon: Terra 1, 2017
27.6 x 19.7 x 0.4 inch
Painting

$723

Agnès Tiollier, Lumière bleue II, Fine Art Drawings

Agnès Tiollier

Lumière bleue II, 2019
27.6 x 39.4 x 0.1 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$1,566

Marguerite Wibaux, Two girls, Fine Art Drawings

Marguerite Wibaux

Two girls, 2020
14 x 11 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$200

Alex SanVik, The darker the night, the brighter the Moon., Painting

Alex SanVik

The darker the night, the brighter the Moon., 2021
19.7 x 13.8 x 0 inch
Painting

$1,660

Alex SanVik, The Sun is still warm, Painting

Alex SanVik

The Sun is still warm, 2021
17.9 x 17.5 x 0 inch
Painting

$1,660

Antonio Briceño, Series: Omnipresence - Artemis IV, Photography

Antonio Briceño

Series: Omnipresence - Artemis IV, 2017
19.7 x 19.7 inch
Photography

$2,410

Timothy Archer, Gemstone for the birds, Painting

Timothy Archer

Gemstone for the birds, 2015
80.7 x 59.3 x 0 inch
Painting

10,000 - $ 15,000

Anastasiya Akulova, Blue bow, Fine Art Drawings

Anastasiya Akulova

Blue bow, 2021
19.7 x 15.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$453

Jordi Maragall, Woman on the chair, Painting

Jordi Maragall

Woman on the chair, 1994
24 x 19.7 x 0.4 inch
Painting

$723

Marie-Pierre Scarton, L'homme aux multiples facettes, Fine Art Drawings

Marie-Pierre Scarton

L'homme aux multiples facettes, 2015
29.5 x 23.6 x 2 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,410

Jane Meyler, Red Boat in Sunset, Painting

Jane Meyler

Red Boat in Sunset, 2017
10.6 x 16.1 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$1,687

Frédérique Maillart, Touareg vu de face, Fine Art Drawings

Frédérique Maillart

Touareg vu de face, 2014
29.9 x 22.8 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$699

Florim Hasani, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Florim Hasani

Sans titre, 2014
6.3 x 9.8 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$904

Colette Levine, Le goût de lire, Fine Art Drawings

Colette Levine

Le goût de lire, 2005
25.6 x 19.7 x 0 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,169

Hugues Claude Pissarro, Terrasse à Menton, Painting

Hugues Claude Pissarro

Terrasse à Menton, 2015
14.5 x 20 inch
Painting

$12,800

Hugues Claude Pissarro, Céline et Pipo dans le pré (A Girl and Her Dog in the Meadow), Painting

Hugues Claude Pissarro

Céline et Pipo dans le pré (A Girl and Her Dog in the Meadow), 2015
13.75 x 9 inch
Painting

$7,800

Eva Klötgen, Arbre n°1, Painting

Eva Klötgen

Arbre n°1, 2018
39.4 x 27.6 x 1.6 inch
Painting

$4,217

Rosemary Coyler, Provencal Harvest, Painting

Rosemary Coyler

Provencal Harvest, 2018
15.7 x 20.1 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$2,892

Sophie Simonet, Envol, Painting

Sophie Simonet

Envol, 2017
57.5 x 44.9 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$6,265

Man Soo Park, Eau 1984 Water, Painting

Man Soo Park

Eau 1984 Water, 1984
39.4 x 31.5 inch
Painting

$16,747

Joanna Mieszko, Nude, Painting

Joanna Mieszko

Nude, 2013
22 x 16.5 inch
Painting

$964

Henri Fehr, Esquisse de nu, Painting

Henri Fehr

Esquisse de nu, 1930
18.5 x 24 x 0 inch
Painting

$1,327

Lilit Soghomonyan, Mysterious Evening, Painting

Lilit Soghomonyan

Mysterious Evening, 2019
22 x 29.9 inch
Painting

$1,355 $1,506

Marie-Pierre Scarton, Transparence matinale, Painting

Marie-Pierre Scarton

Transparence matinale, 2015
27.6 x 19.7 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$3,133

Malgorzata Kwiatkowska, City I (Ornage colors), Painting

Malgorzata Kwiatkowska

City I (Ornage colors), 1990
23.6 x 16.1 inch
Painting

$422

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