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Edgar Degas

The first digital catalogue raisonné

by Michel Schulman, expert

Tocar el color. La renovacio del pastel at the Fundacion Mapfre - Barcelona - from October 3rd, 2019 till January 5th, 2020.

The history of pastel has its roots from the 1830's, when the term "pastellist" appears, until its evolution in the twentieth century... It is at this moment of revival of this technique that Tocar el color exhibition begins.

Course de chevaux dans un paysage, Degas 1894, fiche MS-57

Although the pastel technique in the eighteenth century boomed to the point of becoming an art in its own, it never fully acquired its legitimacy "against" oil painting. Its intrinsic fragility, its typography in the portrait genre (much less valued than the representation of major historical or religious monuments) and its appropriation by many women, prevent it from accessing the field of "great" painting.

At the same time, the widespread use of pastel for sketching tends to confuse it with the graphic arts. It is therefore only in the nineteenth century that the art of pastel gradually takes its autonomy in painting and reaches its peak. It is at this moment of revival of this technique that Tocar el color exhibition begins, centered on the works that justify the application of the name "pastelistas" to its authors.

Artists such as Eugène Boudin, Odilon Redon and Edgar Degas are among those who, by betting on this technique, have given an innovative status to the use of pastels; a situation that was maintained throughout the first half of the twentieth century and continues with Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, María Blanchard or Theo van Doesburg.  

Fundacion Mapfre

Publication : 26-11-2019