View Full Version : Vintage Rembrandt & Grumbacher Sets

04-20-2016, 01:01 PM

I am relatively new to pastels but I tried to learn to paint with them years ago and put them in storage when I got frustrated. I had bought two 30 piece sets (1 Rembrandt and 1 Grumbacher) at an art supply store closing sale some time around 1986 or 1987. The price tag for one is labeled 1985 so I can confirm that date for the age of the product. I ran across them recently and decided to put some genuine effort into learning to use them.

My question is this: does the quality of pastels degrade with age? I know that a few of the Rembrandts have cracked but I can't tell if the color has faded. They have been stored for the last 15 years in a garage attic (not temperature controlled). Do I have to worry about lightfastness? Should I replace them or consider them student quality (because of the age) and use until I feel I need a better quality with guaranteed permanence?



water girl
04-20-2016, 02:40 PM
Welcome to the pastel forum, Renee! I have many Grumbachers and Rembrandts in my collection, and some are from the late 80's. They are just fine. As for breakage, that is not a problem. Most of us break the sticks in order to use the smaller pieces on their sides. Go ahead, use them, and just have fun. Which papers do you intend to use???

04-20-2016, 03:24 PM
Hi Karen,

Thanks for your reply! The broken ones are still whole but splits down the sides from drying out, I guess. They were all in really good shape and I used some rice to clean them.

For paper:
I bought Strathmore 300 Charcoal for practice and Strathmore 400 Pastel initially. Since then I signed up for a class through Craftsy that requires PanPastels and sanded paper (Drawing Wild Animals with Sharlena Wood). I ordered the Art Spectrum Colourfix Coated Pastel Paper and a pad of Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper (not the Touch). I completed one of the assignments for that class with my Rembrandts and charcoal (the projects are black, white, and shades of grey) for the first draft since I couldn't wait for the PanPastels. I plan to do another version once all the required supplies come in.

water girl
04-20-2016, 05:59 PM
Pop over to the Gallery when you have a painting you want to share. We'll be waiting. :wave:

04-20-2016, 06:50 PM
There are lots of folks that would love to suddenly find a box of Grumbachers! Wow! They were the first artist grade pastels I used and I wish I still had some! And they should still be good to use!

Have fun using them!


04-21-2016, 12:19 AM
Renee--A 50 year old set of grumbachers was my first pastel purchase from ebay and I LOVE them. I like you worried about their age but they have been great. The only down side is that the wonderful array of colors (I have 90 of them) are not replaceable so just enjoy them for the time. BTW I have recently used the Strathmore Pastel paper for portraits and really love it. I am partial to it over Canson but still adore sanded paper also.

04-25-2016, 09:47 AM
Thank you, everyone! I feel better about using them now. I won't worry now about the quality. Over the weekend, I actually found the pad of MiTeintes that came with my Rembrandts as a package deal. LOL. Now, that I'll use for practice...30 year old paper stored in variable conditions. There was one old unfinished piece on the pad. I was amused but won't be completing it. ;)

01-05-2019, 10:30 PM
I recently was given a complete (!) set of Grumbachers by one of my students who was giving up art (she is in her 90s now). They are so beautiful and since Grumbachers were the first pastels I ever used for serious artwork, they mean a lot to me. But I notice that some of the sticks she had duplicates of, especially lemon yellow (4 sticks) there is a fairly large variation in value and chroma, though the labels are identical. I am wondering if they were as lightfast as we supposed... Now I am a bit nervous about using them. Does anyone have any actual knowledge of the lightfastness of Grumbachers??

01-10-2019, 11:30 AM
I have 3 full sets of Grumbachers. I still use them but in limited fashion. They are still good but I, too, have a couple lemon yellows that are slightly different from each other.