View Full Version : Antique pastels -Bourgeois Aine paris

09-08-2019, 08:13 AM
Hi! I recently acquired this beautiful set of old pastels, I think they are circa 1920's. Im just really curious about the company and the quality of the pastels. I couldn't find much on internet - I know Bourgeois Aine and Lefranc merged but these would have been before that. The only other image I found was a set in a museum with no info really. Does anyone know anything about these or bourgeois aine? I am just super curious!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Sep-2019/1967012-IMG_5077.jpeghttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Sep-2019/1967012-IMG_5076.jpeg

My Beloved Muse
09-08-2019, 11:05 AM
Not sure this will be helpful, but last March someone else posted to this forum about another Lefranc set.


The only other reference I can find regarding Lefranc is as makers of "emery-coated papers and cloths for pastelists" beginning in 1839. The source being The Art of the Pastel, p. 373. No mention of them as makers of pastels.

Good luck in your search and I hope you enjoy your new/old set of pastels! If you happen to answer your questions, please let us know.


09-08-2019, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the reply and info! I think you are right - lefranc didn't make pastels but distributed for girault at some point. I think the ones I have are from before Burgoise Aine merged with lefranc so they must have stopped making pastels once they merged. I will update if I figure anything else out!

09-10-2019, 04:46 PM
I just spoke with the seller I bought these pastels from (i got them on ebay) I asked her where she acquired the pastels out of curiosity - she is in Russia - this was her response:

Where did I get this art pastel set?
My grandmother's second husband worked as the main artist-decorator of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. The theater toured the World a lot. And from these trips, I think, he brought interesting objects. Just like this pastel set. He made some use of this pastel. And then for many years she lay on a shelf.
I will be happy to answer all your other questions.

How cool is that?! Just a neat piece of provenance for these beautiful pastels!

Richard Barrere
09-10-2019, 06:16 PM
Wow, maybe they were used on some set designs for the Ballet Russe, or for costume designs for Nijinski! They would have to be just over 100 years old, but you never know. That's really cool.

My Beloved Muse
09-10-2019, 09:02 PM
Richard, my mind went to the same place as yours!
Dana, yeah, really cool provenance. Thanks for sharing it with us!
And, it's not outside of the realm of possibilities that Lefranc made those pastels. They built their reputation as makers of oil paints for artists. Many other "color men" in their time would have made pastels as well. Unbeknownst to me, Jean Simeon Chardin was one of the two founders of Lefranc art materials. History records him as both an oil painter and, particularly in his latter years, an eminent pastellist.
More about Lefranc:



09-11-2019, 07:50 AM
Richard and John,
I have been dreaming up some romantic stories as well about these pastels now that I learned whose they were!

I have often wondered when I have worked with used art supplies - is the previous owners artistic energy infused in the pastel? will I suddenly become inspired?! It would be so neat to see a piece of this mans work done with these pastels, or to sit down and chat with him sounds like he would have some fantastic stories to tell! but for now I will just have to wonder and hopefully I can live up creatively to the previous owner!

Richard Barrere
09-11-2019, 05:23 PM
It's fun to think about. I don't know if you have anything to "live up to" at all, Dana, it's just kind of neat and amazing that these pastels have been in so many hands and all over the world and now they have wound up with you after all this time. That's why I love to find second hand supplies which have been well taken care of. I wonder about the former owner, and what they were like and what kind of artwork was created with them. I especially like finding old things that have been neglected for a while, like I'm bringing them back into service. It's a nice feeling. The old saying, "If these things could talk, the stories they could tell," Right? Don't be afraid, I'm sure you will put them to good use. That's what they were made for, so make old Lefranc proud!

11-03-2019, 02:01 AM
Hi Dana,

Thanks so much for your post, and congratulations on your lucky purchase of these vintage pastels! Apologies for my delayed response.

My name is Courtney and I posted about another vintage set of pastels branded Lefranc Bourgeois in March (https://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1463844), which was referenced earlier by John in this thread.

Unfortunately I don't have any new information since my initial post. I had e-mailed Colart (the company that currently distributes Lefranc Bourgeous) in April enquiring about my vintage set - Colart put me in touch with a representative from Lefranc Bourgeois who informed me via e-mail that they had requested an official datation of my pastel set. However, I have not yet received an answer, and did not receive a reply to my follow-up e-mail that I sent in mid-September.

I will be sure to share any new information as it comes through. I would really love to know more about these pastels!

There is one thing that I came across in my attempts at online 'research' about these pastels - a photo of Frida Kahlo's desk (https://www.bridgesandballoons.com/Images/2013/08/Frida-Kahlo-desk-690x460.jpg) in Mexico appears to feature a similar set of pastels that can be seen on the right-hand side of the image. Perhaps this provides some clues regarding the datation? It also makes me feel 'safe' with this brand of pastels to know that Frida Kahlo used them!

11-04-2019, 08:27 AM
This thread is fascinating. I love antiques and the stories behind them. What a treat to find out who used these years ago when they were first bought. It would be interesting to know if the seller has any photos of art work done by the man who owned them. Please do let us know what you think when you put them to use. And hey... if they were good enough for Frida Kahlo....! :) So glad you shared this story!