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What Are Pastels

What are Pastels?
The Painting Medium

Pastel is pure pigment, the same pigment used in making all fine art paints. It is the most permanent of all media when applied to conservation ground and properly framed. Pastel has no liquid binder that may cause other media to darken fade, yellow, crack or blister with time. Pastel from the 16th century exists today, as fresh as the day they were painted.

Edgar Degas was the most prolific user of Pastel and its champion. In the spring of 1983, Sotheby Parke Berrnet sold at auction, two Degas Pastels for more than $3,000,000 each. Both Pastels were painted about 1880.

Today, Pastel paintings have the stature of oil and watercolors as a major fine art medium. Many of our most renowned living artists have distinguished themselves in Pastel and have enriched the art world with this beautiful medium.