Exhibition | Pastels in Pieces

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 11, 2018

Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, Portrait of Gabriel Bernard de Rieux, 1739–41; pastel and gouache on paper mounted on canvas, 201 × 150 cm (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum).

On view through the summer at The Getty Center:

Pastels in Pieces
Getty, Los Angeles, 16 January — 29 July 2018

Curated by Emily Beeny

European paper was not manufactured in giant sheets until the nineteenth century. Competing with painters who worked on monumental canvases, eighteenth-century pastellists joined together multiple sheets of paper in order to create large, continuous surfaces. The piecing together of pastels, however, also served other purposes, allowing artists to paper over their mistakes or paste the heads of important sitters onto bodies posed by models. Matching each exhibited pastel with a map of its component sheets, this installation encourages visitors to consider how these objects were made.

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