Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The White Rose

The White Rose (Portrait of Miss Jessup) - Pastel on paper mounted on canvas (c. 1886) by William Merritt Chase - American, 1849 - 1916 (Collection Phoenix Art Museum, Gift of Miss Margaret Mallory) 

The White Rose (Detail)

Josephine Jessup was a student of William Merritt Chase.

What makes this work remarkable, considering its size, is that it has been executed in pastel. This portrait is life-size and I cannot recall seeing another example of this type of standing figures done in pastel in this way. When I first saw it from afar, I assumed it was an oil painting. It’s only when I came closer that I realised it was done in soft pastel.

The use of pastel gives a freedom of stroke very much in the spirit of Impressionism. This is also a great medium to create transparencies and luminous highlights. The palette used is quite narrow and classical rather than the exuberant colours Degas used for his pastel works. 

The Phoenix Art Museum
1625 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004 – USA

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