The Touch of Color: Pastels at National Gallery of Art, September 29, 2019 – January 26, 2020

“In a major new exhibition opening this fall, the National Gallery of Art examines the beauty and depth of pastel, tracing its rich history from the Renaissance to the present day. The Touch of Color: Pastels at the National Gallery of Art features some 70 exquisite examples drawn entirely from the Gallery’s permanent collection, including many works never before exhibited.

The Touch of Color: Pastels at the National Gallery of Art examines how artists through the centuries adopted different techniques and approaches to pastel, experimenting with this colorful and versatile medium to achieve exciting, often unexpected effects. With a single stroke of a pastel stick, the artist applies both color and line. The line can be left intact or smudged to create passages of velvety tone. Finished works range from the richly illusionist pastel ‘paintings’ of the 18th century to the diaphanous sketches and colorful abstractions of the 19th and 20th centuries.” — National Gallery of Art

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Rosalba Carriera. Allegory of Painting, 1730s. Pastel on blue laid paper mounted on canvas (on strainer), overall: 44.3 x 34.1 cm (17 7/16 x 13 7/16 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Samuel H. Kress Collection

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Maurice-Quentin de La Tour. Claude Dupouch, c. 1739. Pastel on blue laid paper mounted on canvas (on stretcher/strainer), overall: 59.4 x 49.4 cm (23 3/8 x 19 7/16 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Samuel H. Kress Collection

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Jacopo Bassano. The Mocking of Christ, 1568. Colored chalks on blue laid paper, overall: 41.3 x 52.5 cm (16 1/4 x 20 11/16 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Andrew W. Mellon Fund

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Everett Shinn. Fifth Avenue Bus, 23rd Street and Broadway, 1914. Pastel and charcoal on paperboard, overall: 48 x 65 cm (18 7/8 x 25 9/16 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Bequest of Julia B. Engel

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Paul Gauguin. Reclining Nude [recto], 1894/1895. Charcoal, black chalk, and pastel on laid paper, overall: 30.6 x 62.1 cm (12 1/16 x 24 7/16 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Robert and Mercedes Eichholz, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art

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Jasper Johns. Untitled (from Untitled 1972), 1975/1976. Pastel and graphite on gray Japanese paper, overall: 38.5 x 95.9 cm (15 3/16 x 37 3/4 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Jasper Johns, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art

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Käthe Kollwitz. Self-Portrait as a Young Woman, c. 1900. Pastel on laid paper, overall: 46.8 x 36.5 cm (18 7/16 x 14 3/8 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Robert and Chris Petteys

Print this file with Perceptual Rendering Intent.

William Merritt Chase. Study of Flesh Color and Gold, 1888. Pastel on paper coated with mauve-gray grit (on strainer), overall: 45.7 x 33 cm (18 x 13 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Raymond J. and Margaret Horowitz

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Claude Monet. Waterloo Bridge, 1901. Pastel on blue wove paper, overall: 31.1 x 50.2 cm (12 1/4 x 19 3/4 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Florian Carr Fund

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Edgar Degas. The Ballet, c. 1880. Pastel on light tan paper mounted on board, framed: 20 x 17 in. (50.8 x 43.2 cm), sheet: 12 3/4 x 10 in. (32.4 x 25.4 cm), National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (William A. Clark Collection)

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Edgar Degas. Café-Concert, 1876/1877. Pastel over monotype and charcoal (in sticks of fan) on tan laid paper and board, actual: 9 1/4 x 17 in. (23.5 x 43.2 cm), framed: 16 1/8 x 24 in. (41 x 61 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (William A. Clark Collection)

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George Luks. Breadline, 1900. Pastel on paperboard, board (sight): 48.26 x 73.66 cm (19 x 29 in.). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Estate of Susie Brummer)

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Léon-Augustin Lhermitte. The Weaver’s Cottage, c. 1895. Pastel on paper laid down on canvas, mounted on a wooden stretcher, sheet: 38.3 x 48.5 cm (15 1/16 x 19 1/8 in.) (approximate dimensions, measured in housing). National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Merritt Porter Dyke in Honor of Andrew Robison

The Touch of Color is a chance for our visitors to experience the marvelous qualities of pastel in the hands of great artists,” said Kaywin Feldman, director, National Gallery of Art. “The Gallery’s pastel collection is remarkably deep, with nearly every major period in the medium’s long, full history represented. The strength of the collection gives us a rare opportunity to present an exhibition of this scope and significance.”

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

The exhibition is curated by Stacey Sell, associate curator, department of old master drawings, National Gallery of Art, and Kimberly Schenck, head of paper conservation, National Gallery of Art.

Images courtesy National Gallery of Art.