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View Full Version : Age of soft pastels?


Nerys51
02-13-2016, 09:01 AM
Does anyone know up to how old in years soft pastels remain good to use?

DAK723
02-13-2016, 12:05 PM
Unless they have encountered some very unusual conditions, I would say a very long time. You see older sets sold occasionally on the internet that may be over 50 years old. I have a few over 30 years old that are just like new. They may well last hundreds of years. Of course, none of my answers are very scientific!

Don

water girl
02-13-2016, 08:02 PM
I agree with Don. My first sets of pastels, from 1989, have not lost their pastelness...if that is a word. :lol:

debbie_pastel
02-16-2016, 11:53 PM
The only pastels that I have ever had age issues with are Windsor-Newtons. I had several whole unused sticks that were about 13 years old and when I unwrapped them they crumbled beyond use. I have save the pieces to make new pastels, but WN's were not like that when they were new. It may have something to do with the adhesive? All my other pastels - many brands, all unlabelled and cut in half - are great and totally usable. I thinkg th e"moral" is peel upon purchase, but that might just be me.

Theodorablau
02-23-2016, 04:28 PM
I bought my very first pastel sticks in 1975 as a teenager; they are Schmincke and look and behave exactly as they did more than 40 years ago!

robertsloan2
02-23-2016, 07:53 PM
They last and last. I had vintage Rembrandts from the 1950s that are still good and have read about even older pastels that were still just as if they were new. Don't worry about aging!

Newry56
03-07-2017, 02:14 PM
I know this is an older thread but I have to chime in. Recently I purchased a collection of pastels from an artist's estate. A huge cache! One is a box of Schmincke I feel is the oldest. I emailed the company and they estimate the date to be around 1937. The pastels are perfect, maybe a little faded but not as faded as the Senneliers (that was a surprise; they were kept in original boxes for storage). The problem I found with the older pastels is the labels. They can't be archival, disintegrating brittle wrappers, ink print on the labels faded. That can't be good for the pastels. I may contact all of the manufacturers to point this out. The problem labels are the Rembrandts, Senneliers, Mt. Vision, and Unison. Full sets, she broke pieces off one end when she needed a color for her work boxes. Honestly, the Schminke labels held up the best! I also question the integrity of the foam in the boxes. They seem brittle, too.
Has anyone else had a similar problem? The artist was prolific in pastels, oil painting, and teacher of both. Should I suspect oil painting fumes? I would like to conserve the sticks. All help on this would be much appreciated.

bluepen61
03-07-2017, 05:10 PM
I haven't experienced the problems with the labels as you describe with the old Sargent-American Artists' Color Works and F. Weber pastels that I have.

Instead, I have observed (what appears to be) excess glue that smeared onto the stick from the label overlap during manufacture. Or maybe the sticks experienced high humidity at some point causing the glue to bleed into the stick. Now over all these years, the labels tend to adhere to the glue that soaked into the stick. That gluey surface part of the stick seems very hard. Color from that part of the stick doesn't apply well, if at all. I have to scrape/sand it off to get to the soft part underneath. It isn't a huge problem though, just annoying. The more I use them, the more labels I remove.

I wouldn't expect solvent fumes to do much of anything. If the solvents spilled onto the sticks, then something would happen.

The aged cushioning material, corrugated paper and some thick cushioning tissue on mine has begun to fall apart. The wooden boxes are in great shape. Used! lol

CM Neidhofer
03-07-2017, 11:46 PM
I have Rembrandts and Schminkes from probably the mid-80's that are just as good now as they were then. I think my NuPastels are about that old now too.

stapeliad
03-08-2017, 03:38 PM
I think as long as they have been stored nicely, they will keep pretty much forever. :)

If they had at one point been exposed to humidity or something maybe something would happen, but even then probably not because you can wet pastel dust and reconstitute it.

PeggyB
03-09-2017, 05:58 PM
I know this is an older thread but I have to chime in. Recently I purchased a collection of pastels from an artist's estate. A huge cache! One is a box of Schmincke I feel is the oldest. I emailed the company and they estimate the date to be around 1937. The pastels are perfect, maybe a little faded but not as faded as the Senneliers (that was a surprise; they were kept in original boxes for storage). The problem I found with the older pastels is the labels. They can't be archival, disintegrating brittle wrappers, ink print on the labels faded. That can't be good for the pastels. I may contact all of the manufacturers to point this out. The problem labels are the Rembrandts, Senneliers, Mt. Vision, and Unison. Full sets, she broke pieces off one end when she needed a color for her work boxes. Honestly, the Schminke labels held up the best! I also question the integrity of the foam in the boxes. They seem brittle, too.
Has anyone else had a similar problem? The artist was prolific in pastels, oil painting, and teacher of both. Should I suspect oil painting fumes? I would like to conserve the sticks. All help on this would be much appreciated.

Mt Vision and Unison are both relatively "new" on the market for pastels. Neither of them were available in the US before 1997; Mt Vision later than Unison. I have Unison that I bought directly from the man who created them in Great Britain that I purchased in about 1993-94. They are in sets, and some colors I just don't often if ever use. They are still in the original boxes, and the foam is as supple as the day I received them. The papers are also in perfect like new condition. I wonder if perhaps it was the atmosphere in which that artist lived that caused deterioration. I live in the Pacific Northwest where it is relatively consistent in humidity and temperatures; especially in my studio.

Kleinias
03-10-2017, 05:27 PM
I'm an amateur painter in the South, and I have sticks aged 15+ years (mostly Rembrandts and Senneliers) that work like new.

Kleinias
03-10-2017, 05:27 PM
I'm an amateur painter in the South, and I have sticks aged 15+ years (mostly Rembrandts and Senneliers) that work like new.