In Part II of this article, we introduce the final three of the six artists featured our collaboration sets with the TATE: Edgar Degas, John Singer Sargent and Victor Pasmore.
This range of limited-edition sets are designed to introduce you to the styles and techniques of some of the world’s greatest artists. Each set contains everything you need to journey with the masters into their distinct medium including how to guides for each artist focusing on their techniques.
Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917) was a French artist and one of the founders of Impressionism. Unlike the other Impressionists, Degas mostly focused on depicting women such as ballet dancers and others in the working classes. While Degas engaged with a wide variety of mediums, including a keen interest in the new field of photography, from 1885 the majority of his important works were done in pastel. For Degas, pastels were a middle ground between drawing and painting and allowed for him to work easily as he observed the performers in situ. The simple pigment plus binder composition of pastels allowed for a myriad of innovative uses such as mixing crushed pastels with water to create a thick matte paint.
John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925) was an American expatriate portrait painter and draughtsman. In 1907, at the peak of his popularity, he renounced oil painting in favour of drawn portraits in pencil and charcoal. As these took less time it allowed him to draw a wider cross-section of society including writers, politicians, and entertainers rather than just the aristocratic classes. These portraits, while still as sharply observed as his oil paintings, have a spontaneity to them. The fine details depicting the faces contrast with the wide variety of bolder, more energetic marks illustrating their backgrounds, and he was known for using bits of bread to erase the charcoal and create the highlights.
Victor Pasmore (1908 – 1998) was a leader among the British Constructivists. Pasmore found that, like many artists before him, he learnt best by studying the works of past masters. To make the jump to non-objective art, he therefore retraced the steps of the Post-Impressionists who had laid the groundwork for abstraction. In the 1960’s he began an extensive investigation into print making. He saw these works as visual essays using the simplest shapes that allowed for an infinite variety of expression. Having just moved to Malta, his graphic works are infused with the blues and greens of the Mediterranean.
In Part I of this article, we introduced Wassily Kandinsky, J.M.W. Turner, and Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, which you can read about here.