Musée d'Orsay: Mystery and Glitter. Pastels in the Musée d'Orsay.

Mystery and Glitter. Pastels in the Musée d'Orsay.


William Degouve de NuncquesNight in the Royal Park of Brussels© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
The Musée d'Orsay houses several hundred pastels produced between 1850 and 1914. Among them are several masterpieces by the greatest pastellists of the period: Millet, Manet, Degas, Redon and Lévy-Dhurmer.

The 19th century was the time of renaissance and constant revolution in the history of the pastel. Whereas the generations which followed Quentin de la Tour (1704-1788) for the most part turned away from this medium and its suspect charms, the Romantics and the first Realists took it up again. About 1850, pastel painting came back into its own. From the sketches by Millet and Puvis de Chavannes to the voluptuous women of Aman-Jean and Paul Helleu, observers of Proust's world, pastel went from success to success.
Degas and Manet found they could achieve perfect unity between subject and medium, while Redon adapted the technique to render his subjects radiant, and thus more mysterious. So, with pastel came the fusion of drawing and pure colour, of form and its dissolution, of the image and its infinite vibration.

These works have been restored thanks to sponsorship by the BNP Paribas Foundation.


Philippe Saunier, curator, Musée d'Orsay


Mystery and Glitter. Pastels in the musée d'Orsay.
Réunion des musées nationaux / Musée d'Orsay
€ 39

This exhibition is supported by the PricewaterhouseCoopers, France Foundation.

Fondation d'Entreprise PricewaterhouseCoopers France
8 October 2008 - 1 February 2009
Musée d'Orsay

Exhibition hall

With the support of
Fondation d'Entreprise PricewaterhouseCoopers France

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