Color into Line: Pastels from the Renaissance to the Present is the new exhibit presented at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. The brand new curator, Furio Rinaldi, showed ingenuity in setting it up. The latter joined the museum in the midst of a pandemic, at a time when the movement of works around the world was complicated. It was by drawing from the collections of the Museum of the Legion of Honor and from the local collections of the Bay, that he succeeded in building this exhibition around pastel from the Renaissance to the present day.
Through 80 pieces, the exhibition traces the evolution of this technique at the crossroads of drawing and painting, and its introduction in 16th century Europe to works created as recently as 2020. Highlighting the creative process behind the works, the exhibition emphasizes the versatility of pastel over five centuries of human creativity, through drawings by Rosalba Carriera, Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzalès, Diego Rivera, Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Diebenkorn, John Altoon, Rupert García, and Joan Mitchell.
Organized chronologically, the journey begins with works produced between 1500 and 1790 where we find surprising portraits such as the Portrait of a Woman by Jean-Baptiste Perronneau. In this painting, he uses a very controlled layering of pastel, and conveys the translucent sheen of the model’s skin as well as the ethereal quality of her hair, engaging the viewer in an almost tactile experience.
Room 2, Drawn to Nature: Landscape and Still Life 1800-1900, opens with a truly remarkable landscape by Elizabeth Louise Vigée Lebrun (A Hilly Landscape with a River).
Next, come the Impressionists with Impressionist Pastel: Capturing the Elusive 1870-1910. Two Degas are presented including Dancers. This room also includes a magnificent work by Berthe Morisot which had not been exhibited since 1896 (Blanche – Fillette aux Jacinthes).
Rooms 4, 5, and 6 take us on a journey through the 20th century, going from small sketches of Diebenkorn to larger scales of landscapes. We recommend focusing on Dali‘s Oedipus Complex in room 4, on the monumental Chagall in room 5, and on the two Joan Mitchell which are the only two color paintings in the last room devoted mainly to works in black. and white.
A surprising exhibition, to be discovered at the Museum of the Legion of Honor.
Date : October 9, 2021 to February 13, 2022
Address : Legion of Honor Museum Lincoln Park \ 100 34th Avenue, San Francisco