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logo catalogue Degas
Edgar Degas

The first digital catalogue raisonné

by Michel Schulman, expert

Paris, musée d'Orsay, from March 14th till July 2nd, 2023: Pastels. De Millet à Redon

This exhibition gives pride to pastels, which became a major art form - not without difficulty - at the end of the 19th century. To day, the Musée d'Orsay exhibits its most beautiful nuggets.

Pastels : de Millet à Redon

"We set out with five hundred people; but with a quick reinforcement...". Five hundred is also the number of pastels in the Musée d'Orsay's collections.

Among them, a hundred or so have been judiciously chosen to represent this collection which, between portraits and landscapes, the public will appreciate the forms. From Boudin to Lévy-Dhurmer, from Degas to Redon, these are the names that take pride of place in the exhibition, not forgetting lesser-known artists such as Ernest Duez, Jozsef Rippl-Ronai, André Devambez and Maria Botkina.

Degas occupies a place of choice with about twenty pastels: dancers, nudes, portraits but also landscapes. This selection of works is a fine sample of the Musée d'Orsay collection.

It is also an opportunity to recall the place of the pastel and the difficulties it had in establishing itself in the 19th century. As Caroline Corbeau-Parsons, curator, explains, "in 1835, drawing had won its own section at the Salon, but pastel was then separated from painting... and if the particularity of pastel was finally recognized, it was still perceived as an inferior technique to painting... It was a century later, in 1885, that its autonomy and popularity were symbolically crowned by the foundation of the Society of French Pastel Artists.

From Vigée Le Brun to Greuze for portraits, pastel is also a major art of landscape. From Boudin, Pissarro, Sisley to Constant Troyon - whose little-known pastels have nothing to envy to the greatest - pastel has not had to make its reputation for a long time. It has indeed definitely acquired it.

To be seen in Paris.

Publication : 26-04-2023