Joseph Vivien (1657-1734) Charles, Duke of Berry (1686-1714), 1700, 1700

Pastel on paper, 100,5 x 81,5 cm

Staatsgalerie im Neuen Schloss Schleißheim
© Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, München



Alte Pinakothek
Ground floor Room XII


Often seen in art galleries or palaces, in magnificent ornamental frames and behind glass, their powdery surface making them seem as delicate as they are exquisite: pastels. They enjoyed considerable popularity in the 18th century when many works were created, especially in France. The colours are applied dry, using pastel sticks and cover the whole surface area. The pastel painting technique was frequently used for lively, sensitively composed portraits in particular.
But what are the reasons behind the technique’s blossom at the time, what advantages did pastels have over oil paintings, who had their portraits painted in pastel – and how exactly were pastels created? These questions are to be explored in a special exhibition that the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen will be staging in May 2022 in the Alte Pinakothek.

The focus is on the collections’ own holdings, in which such important names as Joseph Vivien, Maurice Quentin de La Tour, Rosalba Carriera and Jean-Étienne Liotard are represented with individual works. For the first time pastel paintings from the Alte Pinakothek will be shown together with those from the state gallery in Neues Schloss Schleißheim. In addition, some rarely displayed works from the depot by anonymous artists, as well as a few selected loans will also be exhibited. This unique combination of works makes it possible to compare artists and their approaches and invites visitors to discover the variety of different effects realised in these works.

There are two further reasons for this exhibition. Generous support provided by the Corona Fund of the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung has made it possible for urgently needed conservation and restoration work to be carried out on the Schleißheim pastels by a specialist. As a result, and due to examinations being carried out as part of a current research project on the French paintings, the works are temporarily in Munich. Before their return to the gallery in Schleißheim the opportunity is being taken to exhibit them in the Alte Pinakothek and, as such, within a larger context. At the same time, the presentation also celebrates a new acquisition – ‘Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Philippe’ by Maurice Quentin de La Tour – donated by Mr Fritz Lehnhoff as a loan from the Museumsstiftung zur Förderung der Staatlichen Bayerischen Museen, that entered the collection in 2021.

The exhibition is being sponsored by the Herbert Schuchardt-Stiftung Munich; the accompanying programme of events is being sponsored by the Karl Thiemig-Stiftung Munich

Media partner: ARTE

Guide to the collection

A guide to the collection, covering the complete holdings of pastels from the late 17th and 18th centuries in the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, is to be published to accompany the exhibition: Elisabeth Hipp (ed.), ‘Pastellmalerei vor 1800 in den Bayerischen Staatsgemäldesammlungen’, with contributions by Bernd Ebert, Ulrike Fischer, Elisabeth Hipp, Xavier Salmon and Herbert W. Rott and with an introduction by Bernhard Maaz, Deutscher Kunstverlag Berlin/Munich, ISBN 978-3-422-98900-9, 144 pages. The book will be available from 7 May 2022 onwards in the museum.
The publication has been made possible by the Museumsstiftung zur Förderung der Staatlichen Bayerischen Museen and the Karl Thiemig-Stiftung, Munich.