View Full Version : Picasso

02-20-2008, 12:44 PM
A year or more ago, I started a thread asking if anyone had ever come across an image of a Picasso OP. Picasso of course is credited with first developing the medium in conjunction with Sennelier back in the 40's, so it was kind of unusual that no participants to the thread were able to track one down - except one very simple contour drawing.
I just came across this auction posting on ebay, which claims that it is an original Picasso OP from 1970.


Not to create doubt about the authenticity of the piece...but apparently forgeries by this artist are quite prolific in the marketplace! This piece is very cleanly executed and when glancing thru my book on Picasso, it looks much more like something he would have done in the 30's rather than 70's but what do I know.
My apologies for not updating this info. on the original posted thread but I was unable to find it on a search.


02-20-2008, 01:02 PM
Leo, I don't know much about Ebay and how it works, but if I had an original Picasso I'd be selling it through Christies or Sothebys Auction Houses. Interesting find. Jane

02-20-2008, 01:42 PM
Hello leo.

99% of art paintings(old Masters) on ebay are Fakes:thumbsup:

Why do someone sell on ebay a original painting:confused:

Fakes are very easy to sell on ebay because the buyers "see" only the picture and can't "feel" the paper/canvas.

Mostly the picture is from original painting BUT the item which the buyer finally receive are the fake one:evil: Dont buy such things on ebay.

Finally 99% of the paintings of the Masters are in callerys and Museums not in free flow:wave: :wave:

If a private collector wont to sell his valuable painting, he goes to cristies or another famus auction House.

BTW: Can someone point me to Piccassos oilpastels(especially which has made with sennelier oilpastels) paintings:confused: :confused:


02-20-2008, 01:46 PM
Leo, I agree with you that it doesn't look like Picasso's technique of the period. Something smells fishy here. The seller has only one feedback as a seller and that is for a Modigliani. The feedback also says "Accepted return". It is quite easy to manipulate feedback in Ebay by "selling" something to an accomplice who then leaves a glowing feedback.

Jane, I agree with you also and think that this falls into the category of "Buyer beware".

I, too, would love to find a Picasso oil pastel in a museum collection.


p.s. Nico, we cross posted but I agree with you.

02-20-2008, 02:21 PM
I tend to agree with all of you - if someone was in possession of an actual Picasso OP painting, they most likely would take it to an auction house or other reputable art gallery, not ebay. OTOH, I understand that Picasso, toward the end of his life, became quite the entrepreneur, even licensing images to be used to decorate sheets and towels :eek: so I guess you never know.

I wonder if the Sennelier company has any reference material regarding the early Picasso OPs...

02-20-2008, 02:53 PM
All good points - Jane, Nico and Wendell - glad to see that we are unanimous in our skepticism. I happened to be checking out what was available on ebay in terms of buying some more Senn. colours, when this came up in my search.

The search for the elusive example of an OP by Picasso continues...

Perhaps as you suggest Ann; Sennelier themselves may have some reference material on his work in in OP? On the other hand, they incorporate "Picasso-like" graphics on covers of their box sets of OPs and pads and one would think that they would use an actual image but perhaps the rights to so might be too costly.


Pat Isaac
02-20-2008, 03:12 PM
I agree, beware. I searched for his OPs before, but only came up with the line drawings. Sennelier might be a good source.


02-20-2008, 03:19 PM
For anyone interested, the earliest work with oil pastel in a museum that I can find is ca. 1934 by American artist Arthur B. Carles. It is titled "Abstraction" and is oil and oil pastel on canvas board and is at the Smithsonian/Hirshhorn Museum.

BTW, it appears to be in excellent condition.


02-20-2008, 08:51 PM
Interesting. Did any other OP brands beside CrayPas exist then?

02-20-2008, 09:05 PM
Is it possible that Picassos OP's were just considered works in oil? Maybe mixed technique?

02-20-2008, 09:17 PM
Bob, I remember reading somewhere that oil pastels were first developed in Japan in the early twentieth century for art education. Undoubtedly the formulations and pigments used have changed many times over the years. Sometimes probably this was for the better but also sometimes for the worse.

I found that painting by putting "oil pastel" in the search box on the collections page of the Smithsonian. Perhaps we could all try it at different museums. I'm sure it would interest a lot of us to see other examples of the early use of oil pastels.

Anyone interested?


Chris, that's probably the case in some instances. Most museums now though will give more information as to the media used in mixed media.

02-20-2008, 10:18 PM
If memory serves me correctly, no one called them Oil Pastels until sometime later. There was an article last year in the Pastel Journal about the differences between the two and the author indicated, I believe, that she had discussed this with Sakura and that they had come up with the term Oil Pastel strictly as a marketing strategy (of course Sakura's Craypas is coined from Crayon+Pastel). Given the extremely creamy texture of the Senneliers it would seem likely they might have simply been considered, as suggested, oil medium since the demarcation among various media types was not as complicated as today given the explosion of variations on traditional media.

Conservators would, it seem, be a good source since the non-drying nature of OPs would present quite different curatorial problems than other media.

02-20-2008, 11:21 PM
Good point about the possibility that the medium was not originally called oil pastels, hence early works may have been classified as oils or something else altogether. It may be a lot of work (even collectively) to try and trase works by Picasso through conservators or museums.

Perhaps the best proposal was to present the issue to Sennelier and let them do the digging? This could be done on behalf of OP artists at WC to add more weight to the resquest. They after all are making claims and it would be in their interest to be able to substanciate them.

Do they have an English website?


02-21-2008, 12:13 AM
Since I have become such an Internet gadfly after lurking in the shadows of the WWW from its inception, I took my newfound boldness and thought...

Hey, John Elliot is the guy that wrote the very first article on using OP's years ago, he wrote the only book, to my knowledge, devoted solely to OP and has been a vocal proponent of their use in fine art for years, had the foreword to his book written by the current Sennelier that heads the company, included a photo of the box of OP's used by Picasso,,,,,,Gee, maybe he might know something about this.

So, I just sent an email to him explaining our perplexed state and asking if he might be so kind as to let me know if he had any information regarding this "mystery".

I will let you know what, if anything, I find out.


02-21-2008, 12:43 AM
Here's another puzzle. I typed "oil pastel" in the search box at the website of Tate Britain. Among the things that came up was a Degas Exhibition with a painted fan by Edgar Degas, "Fan: Dancers 1879". It was described as "Gouache, oil pastel and oil paint on silk" and was from the Tacoma Art Museum. It was known that he sometimes dipped pastel sticks in fixative. Might he have dipped them in oil? Was this one of the first oil pastels?


02-21-2008, 01:16 AM
Wendell- That would REALLY be a mind-blower! Without the mention of "oil paint" at the end I would have suspected a missing comma between oil and pastel....but this seems very interesting.

Good detective work, Sherlock!:clap:

Pat Isaac
02-21-2008, 08:44 AM
Good luck to all you sleuths....you have come up with some good information so far. I hope Sennelier answers you, Bill. That would be a real plus. I wrote to the US rep several years ago on behalf of the Oil Pastel Society and never heard from them.
When I was researching the history for the OPS the earliest reference to OPs that I could find was Sakura in the early 20s and then Sennelier in the 40s.
Keep us up to date.


02-21-2008, 11:19 AM
Actually, Pat, I didn't contact Sennelier but emailed John Elliot since he had historical information in his OP book. It seemed he might have already researched the subject. Anyway, as I'll share elsewhere, I'm finding that sometimes the easiest way to an answer is contact the source!


02-21-2008, 07:07 PM
Continuing on Wendells lead. Here is a link to an image of the Degas piece. Scroll to the second last image on the page. Unfortunately, it's quite small and not able to be enlarged with the standard "click" of the mouse. The caption reads:

Fan: Dancers 1879
Gouache, oil pastel and oil paint on silk
Photo: Richard Nicol
Lent by the Tacoma Art Museum. Gift of Mr and Mrs W Hilding Lindberg


Having Degas himself making even a improvised makeshift attempt at creating an OP painting (even w/other media), would be big news. PICASSO & DEGAS!!! If confirmed, we could hardly ask for two bigger names to promote our often neglected and obscure medium!


02-21-2008, 07:49 PM
Very interesting, Leo and Wendell. Good to see some actual OPs by these masters. Jane

02-21-2008, 08:04 PM
I was able to locate the thread from April 2007, which was the start of this topic at WC.


Thought I'd post it since Bill, Wendell and others may be interested in the comments that were made at that time.


02-22-2008, 12:00 AM
Thank you for the link to the thread, Leo. Here are some other thoughts.

I've sometimes done quick sketches with soft pastel on wet watercolour paper. It's fun but really uses up the pastel quickly. If fixed and photographed it could look like oil pastel and is not a new technique.

I recall reading somewhere that lumbermen in the nineteenth century used a type of oil crayon like an oil pastel or oil stick to mark and grade lumber. They were in different colours and some artists apparently used them much like artists today use carpenter pencils for sketching. I'm trying to think which Canadian artist used them.

Some artists used grease crayons or pencils for sketching. They were made for use in lithography.

I have an old book with formulas and instructions for making greasepaint (theatrical or clown makeup). It was often made in sticks and the recipes are similar to oil pastels, i.e. pigment, wax and oil or petroleum jelly. Some artists such as Degas could probably have been familiar with greasepaint.

Those are just a few things that could have inspired or could be confused with oil pastels.


Pat Isaac
02-22-2008, 09:07 AM
Thanks for those threads, Leo. I remember some of those grease crayons that I used for lithography in school and may students used them to sketch with. They did have an oil pastel appearance.


02-22-2008, 12:03 PM
Your welcome Pat.

Wendell, I recall reading about grease sticks being used by lumberman to grade lumber as well and I believe the procedure continued until the beginning of the 20th century. What prompted me to read into it, was that I discovered such a marking on bare wood hidden on the inside of my English Oak cabinet and was curious about it. The piece was recently restored and restorers were not to finish the inside of the cabinet but I just had a peek inside and found the marking is now gone. I just realized now that unfortunately, I gave them the go ahead to remove top of the cabinet as it needed extra work but not realizing at the time, that the underside marking would be destroyed in the process.

I don't recall the colour of the marking but remember that it looked as fresh as if it were just recently fired-off by the grader. The furniture I was told could be 90-100 years old, so this is at least some indication of the permanence of even these industry purpose markers.

Just some not too useful trivia I suppose...


02-22-2008, 12:41 PM
Leo--It's not trivia! If it is interesting, and it is, it is not trivial. Trivia is just society's way of referring to History they don't find particularly interesting. One person's trivia is another person's lifetime passion.

Many would consider this whole Picasso question trivial. I don't, I have found it fascinating and has already inspired me to fire off emails to people I would never have imagined corresponding with. It has also lead me to some really interesting museum links and a really neat interactive web tool that lets you supply the URL of an image of an artwork, give the size of your monitor, dimensions of the real artwork, hit a button and see what a simulation of the artwork might look like if you were observing it at its actual size and scroll around it to look at detail technique!

BTW, I just started a new thread with some of the links I've discovered, including this one. Hopefully people will begin to use it to share interesting links that they stumble on that don't fit disucssions in a particular thread (like what I'm doing now).

Anyway, I find your original question fascinating and being trained as a scientist feel embarassed that such an obvious question had never occurred to me. Trivia smivia!! If you find it interesting it isn't trivia. If someone else doesn't, then that's what the page down button is for.... they can skip past it.

I haven't had a chance to go through your original thread, but I want to when time allows. Right now my wife is leaving me notes to get packed for Isla de Mujeres. Not sure why I'm going since women are in charge here!

:lol: :lol:

02-22-2008, 01:15 PM

After searching my picasso book, the only painting which is descripted with "Pastel on Paper, 60 X 45 cm" are a portrait of his mother. If "pastel" means OP there is not more expained. Most paintings are descripted as " oil on Canvas". I think that, picasso has worked with Sennelier are only for Marketing propose and a Big Lie.

Here the painting(1896):


Pat Isaac
02-22-2008, 01:31 PM
I do think this is a soft pastel painting and I think Picasso mostly wanted the OPs for sketching, not for completed paintings and that may be why they are hard to find.


02-22-2008, 01:59 PM
Bill, points well made excellently expressed as usual!!!

I'd be very interested in finding more about that interactive web tool you mentioned that yields life size images to your screen? Don't want to hold you back from your commitments though - try to remember to post after your return from Isla de Mujeresyour.

Have a great time!

Nico, you've just introduced a new variable into the mix - that the whole Picasso & Sennelier co-operation is a big scam. I think that that is a possiblity that we can keep in the back of our minds. Ultimately we want proof and so far it has been few and far between!


02-22-2008, 02:09 PM
Leo--It's already posted in a new thread I started on Web Links; This should take you to the thread and check out the last link in the initial post.


Or, instead of being a dummy I could just give you the link here, DUH??




02-22-2008, 02:18 PM

I'm inclined to think you are correct. He saw it as a tool to speed up the concepual development of a full blown work. Perhaps for small studies but not major pieces for him.


02-22-2008, 02:27 PM
Nico, you've just introduced a new variable into the mix - that the whole Picasso & Sennelier co-operation is a big scam.

Hello Leo.

Yes, i think that is a big scam.

How else is to explain than neither on the WWW nor in Museums exist a OP painting:confused:

I think Pat is right, picasso has used the OPs only for initial sketch.

Questions is: if picasso used the ops only for the sketch why must the ops new development with sennelier? As we know a Student grad ops are enough for sketch ? Here is also a big scam.


02-22-2008, 03:18 PM
Picasso also designed pottery. Oil pastels would have been perfect for painting on the pottery and making the prototype designs. Sennelier was first and foremost an art supply store in Paris. Most artists of the time would have bought some things there.

Nico, I don't think it's exactly a scam but possibly an exaggeration of the truth.


02-23-2008, 03:59 PM
Sennelier has pictures(which i suppose there are picasso paintings) on there OP sets (landscape,still life,assorted etc.) can someone point me to this paintings in www? i can't find those paintings.


02-23-2008, 06:17 PM
Nico, Picasso's works are still under copyright protection. If these are Picasso paintings they would have the copyright symbol as well as "Estate of Pablo Picasso" or some variant. I don't think they are Picasso paintings.

You might want to go to the Museum of Modern Art website at www.moma.org and look for Picasso's 1945 drawing "Burning Logs". It says "Crayon and ink on paper" but the crayon certainly looks like oil pastel to me. In fact, not only does it look like oil pastel, it looks like one of the Sennelier colours!


02-23-2008, 07:51 PM
Wendell-In looking for Picasso links I stumbled accross this site:


in the search box enter Picasso art and you will get about 11 pages of images of Picasso's work. As I paged through the images, I noticed that while most early works were labeled with media such as "oil on canvas", a number of the the post 40's works were simply labelled "Oil" and nothing else or no media listed.

Do the search and go to page 8 and look at the following images and tell me whether you think these "oils" are typical brushstroke paintings or is there any possibility these could be OPs which in that era would not necessarily be referred to as that. Longshot, but curious as to what you think. The one on sheet metal is especially interesting. To my untrained eye some of these look like "crayon like" markings rather than brush or something like pallete knife. Would appreciate your opinion.

Woman In An Armchair
27 March 1949
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973/Spanish)

Head Of A Man
6 June 1965
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973/Spanish)
Louise Leiris Gallery, Paris

Crouching Nude
18 March 1954
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973/Spanish)
Rosengart Coll., Lucern Galerie, Switzerland

Self Portrait with Model
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973 Spanish)

Head Of A Woman
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973/Spanish)
Sheet metal

Bust of a Woman
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973/Spanish)
Collection Jacqueline Picasso, Mougins

The Matador
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973/Spanish)
Musee Picasso, Paris

Head of a Man with a Straw Hat
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973/Spanish)
Collection Jacqueline Picasso, Mougins sheet metal;


02-23-2008, 07:57 PM

A number of these later works are at the Museum of Contemporary Art at Jacksonville Florida found here:



02-23-2008, 10:01 PM
Wendell, Picasso’s “Burning Logs” looks much like an oil pastel as you suggest. Just to narrow the search, it should be mentioned that the year in which Picasso collaborated with Sennelier was 1949. So, this piece predates that by 4 years. That is not to say that it is not an oil pastel, it’s just that it could not be a Sennelier. Sakura (Cray-Pas) was developed in the 1920’s and possibly Picasso had access to purchase them?

In my book at home (Picasso, Carsten-Peter Warncke, Ingo F. Walther, Taschen 2002), I found about a dozen images from 1937, which are designated as crayon along with another media. Similarly, there are four from 1962 and two in 1969. In my opinion, any of the paintings created in these years could be have made from conventional childrens crayons or oil pastels. However, one the drawings from 1969 (Smoker and Nude, Indian Ink and crayon on paper, 21 June, pg. 656), has a more elaborate range of colours that the simple primaries (+ a few) found in the earlier works. I suspect that this one is more likely to be an oil pastel. But just to put a hole in that theory, even childrens crayons were launched with an elaborate range of colours at some point but I don’t know in what year that would have been. Also reproductions can sometimes be off-colour.

Bill, I haven’t had time to look into the works you referenced, but thought that I’d mention the above in case someone happens to have the same book and can check it out.


02-23-2008, 10:08 PM
Bill, the reason why I think "Burning Logs" may be oil pastel is that after zooming in on the fairly high resolution image I was able to detect some blending of the colours. There appear to be three or four colours and they appear to have been rubbed over the ink drawing. This would have been easy to do with an oil pastel (particularly Sennelier) but difficult with a waxier crayon. The wax content and fragility of an oil pastel layer would probably be more similar, for a conservator, to a crayon than oil paint. The colours used seemed to be umber, burnt orange, black and little touches of dark red.

I doubt that the sheet metal works were painted with non-drying oil pastel. They just seemed too clean and precise for unframed oil pastel works almost fifty years old.

I went to the website of the Jacksonville museum but, strangely, found no mention of Picasso among the artists. The search came up with nothing.

Fifteen or twenty years ago I went to an exhibition of Jacqueline Picasso's collection of Picassos many of which are shown on the Superstock website. I remember the paint as being very thickly applied and don't recall the oil works being framed under glass. Oil drybrush applied over dried oil paint could have the look of oil pastels as would oil sticks. The works were all fairly large.

I went to the website of Musee Picasso but there was no information about the works. With the lack of information as to dimensions and supports used at Superstock it's difficult to judge.

It would be nice to see other peoples' opinions.


Leo, I think we cross posted but it's entirely possible that Picasso might have had some pre-war Sakuras. He could have gone to Sennelier and said, "Can you make me some of these?".

02-24-2008, 03:44 AM
Gotta be short, but to my untrained eye some of the later (50-70) that are listed just as Oil just dont seem to look like brushwork to me. Some of them seem to have the appearance of a waxy drawing. Of course there's not way to tell just by looking at images. Even though OP does not "dry", I have things I've done over 4 yrs ago that can be rubbed off with a tissue but you have to use quite a bite of force and rip the tissue from the friction. I think that the surface, unless heavily impasto, after a period of time is relatively durable. Much is made of its lack of a "hard dry" surface, but even oil paints will chip off if you scrape your finger nail across them. Valuable works of art just generally aren't treated in such a way as to commonly expose them to the amout of abuse it would take to significantly damage a set OP work, in my opinion. Sure you can damage it, but you can damage any artwork if you are not careful with it and care for it properly!

Who knows, I'm hoping John Elliot will reply to my email and have some insight. Clearly the OP's were used by Picasso and even if they were used for sketching then artists of that calibre, and as recent as Picasso would have many of his sketches and studies surviving, I would think. I think he thought of them more as a variant of the oil media than a pastel.



02-24-2008, 05:10 AM
So, What are the paintings which are on the Senneliers op sets?

"No name" paintings with cubismus-picasso style?

Maybe the coloboration Sennelier-picassos was not succefully and picasso choice not to use this "new" media for his painting for a reason.

Sennelier has continue to use the picasso name of his OPs and gave for exchange to picasso marketing fees.


Pat Isaac
02-24-2008, 07:58 AM
I really can't tell with the images at superstock, but the burning logs really does look like an OP. It is true that in my research for history, Sennelier didn't develop the OPs until 1949. I do remember reading that Picasso wanted an oil stick that he could use on any surface.


02-24-2008, 01:42 PM
I do remember reading that Picasso wanted an oil stick that he could use on any surface.

This means Pat, that picasso never used ops but oil sticks which as discuss in another thread there not the same!

How about the others Masters, have they paintings which are made definitively with OPs??(not only for sketch, but the whole painting)

I dont think that any Masters has used OPs because they are always "workable" and never dry. in this case could the Master lose his painting!!


02-24-2008, 02:26 PM
First of all, I would like to address something that I have seen repeated a few times on this forum. A dried and properly executed oil painting would be very difficult, if not impossible, to scratch with your fingernails. I just tried it on some of my oil paintings which have been dry for over a month and was unable to scratch them. There was also no paint under my fingernails. It might be possible to scratch a layer of protective removable varnish but that is easily repaired. A couple of years ago I thought I would reuse the linen from an unfinished thoroughly dry oil painting but first wanted to remove the ridges of the oil paint. First I tried fine sandpaper but when that didn't work used coarse sandpaper on an electric sander. After a while there were a few little scratches but the oil paint could not be removed. I finally decided there was no way I could remove the paint without damaging the support. Before throwing out the expensive linen I tried folding it and stomping on it. After that there were only a few barely visible cracks. If anyone has fingernails that will remove dried oil paint please let me know as I have a few more unfinished paintings that I would like to reuse. Also there are spots of oil paint on my floors that need to be cleaned off.

Bill, in a reputable museum, "relatively durable" is not enough for a Picasso painting to be displayed without protection. I'm sure you've seen vulnerable paintings in museums framed behind glass and fragile paintings in special lucite boxes. In my student days I worked in an art museum for a summer. Part of my job was to lightly and carefully dust the paintings daily with soft black velvet cloth. The cloth had to be carefully inspected after each painting for signs of colour. Any sign of possible damage was to be reported immediately.

Oil painters often use a wax medium mixed with their paints. I sometimes use Dorland's Wax Medium. Applied with a soft dry brush or with the fingers, this could have the appearance of oil pastels.

When were oil sticks first used? Is it possible that the first Senneliers were more akin to oil sticks than to today's oil pastels? Were they similar in formulation to the Kama Extra-greasy oil pastels which could be framed without glass?

By the way, when I was a child in the early fifties, my mother gave me a small set of the Craypas. She probably got them at our small town Woolworth's. I loved them!


Pat Isaac
02-24-2008, 02:59 PM
I would totally agree with that assessment of oil paint, Wendell, as I have had the same experience.

I did go to the R&F pigment stick site and according to them oil sticks first appeared on the market in the 1970s. They were weakly pigmented and contained a high proportion of wax. They were greatly improved upon over the years. Not sure when the others caminto being, but I doubt it was before the 1970s


02-24-2008, 07:08 PM
Wendell-- I have to bow to both you and Pat since you are far more qualified than I. I didn't mean to suggest that "reasonably durable" was a criterion for display and I agree that you need to exercise as much caution as possible.

Gotta go now or I'm in big trouble.


02-25-2008, 11:07 PM
Possibly to no one's surprise the "Picasso" at Ebay didn't sell. The same seller now has a "Matisse" for sale supposedly done in 1952. It looks so fresh that one would think it was done yesterday!


Pat Isaac
02-26-2008, 09:38 AM
:lol: :lol: probably was.


02-26-2008, 11:17 AM
He (ebay -seller) thinks that on www (whole world) maybe there are a "idiot" or someone has enough money and don't knows how to give away, to buy them painting.

If he sell the paintings, i will also painting picassos and matisse and sell them on ebay

02-26-2008, 11:19 AM
If I hurry, Pat, I can transfer the money now and get the "Matisse" for only $7,600.00. What a bargain! Do you think I could buy it with fake money?


02-26-2008, 12:03 PM
He (ebay -seller) thinks that on www (whole world) maybe there are a "idiot" or someone has enough money and don't knows how to give away, to buy them painting.

If he sell the paintings, i will also painting picassos and matisse and sell them on ebay

02-26-2008, 01:17 PM
Nico, don't forget to post your fakes and tell us your technique.


02-26-2008, 05:28 PM
Wendell---Are you still talking to me or do you now envisage my face on those oil canvasses you stomp on?? Guess I was always too good and never tried scatching those old oils with my fingernail, justassumed those old things were more delicat than they apparently are. I don't think the guards would have seen the value the experiment anyway.

Were I not posting from the lovely Isla Mujeras off sunny Cancun, Mexico after having fessed up to my wife that a full set of 225 Holbeins will be waiting for me when I get home (oops, I forgot to mention the Extra Greasy Pastels that should also be there from Kama. How forgetful of me), I might feel i nclined to invest in the Matisse or Picsasso. However, I have a feeling I'm going to be on a much shorter fiscal leash when we get home than before so I better not push the envelope too much.

Adios Amigo,

Got to get out there sketching or Pat is going to lecture me when I get home!!!!!

I did promise our Patron Saint Patricia I would sketch my little you know what off, come what may!
:music: :heart: :music:

Pat Isaac
02-26-2008, 05:36 PM
:lol: :lol: That's right, Bill.....or you will stand in the corner when you get back.....
I still haven't received my catalog from Kama.....grrrr....I want those OPs.
Hope you are having a glorious time....


02-26-2008, 06:08 PM
Well of course Bill, I'm still talking to you but with a tinge of envy right now considering your location. No I was not thinking of you when I stomped on my old (well not that old) linen canvas. Just check the price of good 12 ounce artist linen and you'll see the frustration at having to throw it out. You do look a lot like Van Gogh's self portrait before that nasty ear incident. Now maybe you should change it for the later one with the big bandage. Hope you are having a great time.

Pat, I ordered the catalog too before I first ordered but haven't received it yet. I downloaded the catalog from Kama Pigments and got an email from the post office yesterday saying that my second order from them is on the way. I'll let you know when I get it.


Pat Isaac
02-26-2008, 06:39 PM
I was really hoping to have the catalog today, but it didn't come. I don't want to order through Canada, as I was told it would be more expensive. I'll wait a few more days. Really getting antsy...


02-28-2008, 06:42 PM
Well, the Picasso mystery continues and we can all take consolation that we are not alone in the darkness. Following is the reply and original email I sent to the Ryerson Reference Library at the Art Institute of Chicago .
I sent the following email from their reference site:

>Email from Sent from http://www.artic.edu/aic/contact.html (http://www.artic.edu/aic/contact.html)
>subject: Oil Pastel Works by Picasso

>Original Message:
> It is well documented that Sennelier Co. in France created their
>version of high quality Oil Pastels because of a request by Pablo
>Picasso for a medium that combined the characteristics of oil with
>the spontaneity of pastels and could be used on various surfaces
>without preparation. The question has arisen as to where can works
>in Oil Pastel by Picasso be found? There seems to be little or no
>information on what use he put the Oil Pastels he requested
>Sennelier to develop. Do you have any information on this question.
>Your help would be greatly appreciated.

The response was from :

Lori Van Deman
Catalog & Reference Librarian
Ryerson & Burnham Libraries
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603-6110
[email protected]

You are right in that there seems to be very little information on
Picasso's use of the oil pastels. I have looked through the catalogue
of the Picasso Museum in Paris and found very few pastels, and they
are all from before the time when he made the commission from
Sennelier in the late 1940s.

I would suggest trying your local library for materials on Picasso's
drawings, and seeing if you can find pastel works from after 1949 or
so. There is unfortunately no way of being absolutely sure that they
would be the same pastels that Sennelier created for him, but it
would be a possibility, and you would be able to find the locations
of his late pastel works, if there are any to be located.

Good luck with your search!

Lori Van Deman
Two Exhibitions, 200 Works of American Art, Just One Ticket
Edward Hopper and Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light
February 16 through May 10

So, even the Picasso Museum in Paris has no documentation of OP works by Picasso and the Ryerson Reference Library at the AIC, a very good art museum if you have never had a chance to visit it, seems to have no obvious answer that we have overlooked.

I thought some of you might be interested that we are not alone in our quandry about Pablo and the elusive Sennelier Oil Pastels......Just what did he do with them????? From the picture in John Elliot's book of his set, they seem to have obviously been used for something!

Leo, you ask very good questions. Unfortunately, there seems to be little in the way of a definitive answer.........YET.


02-29-2008, 05:11 AM
Have to run but found that this topic came up several years ago on WC.


Haven't had time to really look into it but there is a referance here to a Picasso:

Buste d’Homme a la Cigarette, 1964
Oil pastel on rag paper
26 ½ x 20 inches
Signed upper right: Picasso


03-02-2008, 02:32 AM
Real interesting thread people. I suppose if Picasso didn't do any real finished works in OP, that means we modern artists doing OP are surpassing his work in OP. Brownie points for us 'eh? :D :wave:

03-02-2008, 03:44 PM
This is indeed an interesting thread. Thanks to Bill for taking the time to try to hunt down some examples - too bad it didn't pan out. I spent some time searching this morning, but didn't come up with anything much either.

This may already have been mentioned - forgive me if I repeat someone else here, but I'm bandwidth challenged and don't want to search back through the thread: there was an exhibit recently of Picasso's works on paper at the National Gallery of Scotland:
http://www.nationalgalleries.org/whatson/exhibition/5:368/3656/3663 Unfortunately, from what I could tell, the exhibit focuses on prints, and I could find no mention of OPs.

I also found this list of Picasso's work from 1960-1971, but alas, it doesnt' mention the type of media and offers no images: http://www.rentspain.com/culture/picasso/picasso-art-1961-1970.html

And in my web-wanderings I also discovered that the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart is said to house many Picassos, but the website is all in German with apparently no English version, so I didn't get far there. I'm posting the link in case anyone speaks German and can do further research: http://www.staatsgalerie.de/architektur/gesch_neu.php

Also, Leo, the link in the earlier WC thread on Picasso leads to a dead end. Perhaps the gallery sold the piece. I didn't bother to take the time to explore the gallery site itself (that one was a good link).

Has anyone written to Sennelier yet?

03-02-2008, 09:20 PM
The only possible oil pastel I could see was a self portrait in "crayon" in 1972, and it could be only crayon, or he could have called his oil pastels, crayons.
I suspect the cover of Senns OP's could be by Picasso, or they simply used a similar style for their covers to suggest Picasso.

03-04-2008, 08:01 AM

I´m fascinated by this topic and by Picasso anyhow and so I decided to join the search.

Being German I called this museum in Stuttgart. One of the employees there is doing some search for us at the moment and will email me. I also called the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin which has got a collection of Picassos. There I was forwarded to the head of the department of restoration. In both museums they looked into their database during our talk, but oil pastels were not mentioned anywhere. They also speculated that he could have used them with other mediums and/or for sketching or that there was another name for oil pastels at that time.

Then I thought to take a short cut and called Sennelier in France. The lady gave me the telephone number and email address of Mr Dominique Sennelier who runs a shop in Paris. His father, Henri Sennelier, was the one who was contacted by Picasso because of making these oil pastels. There seems to be a problem with the telephone number :confused: so I wrote an email to him today and hope to get an answer.

I also found a website with a Picasso, where he could have used oil pastels, what do you think?
As there is no title or further information given I will still have to find it on the WWW and will post the result.

That´s all for now :thumbsup:Beate

03-04-2008, 08:24 AM
I´ve found the title of the painting I mentioned above :
"Portrait of Dora Maar, 1937" (Paris) and they say it´s oil on fabric.

:crying: So my hope is gone that this could be oil pastel. Yet, it looks like it :evil: .

In the text of the madisonartshop one can read this:

"In 1947 Picasso approached Henri Sennelier to create a completely new medium that had the qualities of vivacity, luminosity and unctuosity in an easy to apply stick form. The result was Sennelier’s oil pastels, which instantly became the standard of quality for this medium. The unusually wide range of greys in the oil pastel palette is Picasso’s imprimatura and legacy."
Maybe this is a hint?


Pat Isaac
03-04-2008, 09:22 AM
Thanks, Beate for doing all this research. Let's hope you get some answers. I do love those greys...


Phil Coleman
03-04-2008, 11:36 AM
If you search picasso on ebay,, it will reveal many claiming or suggesting that they are signed originals. Drawings . Paintings infact every type of medium he used is there! Some with a starting bid of £5 WOW,, Yet two of hes paintings fall into the top 10 highest selling paintings EVER! This link relates to the sale of one of hes paintings, It sold for £46 Million.


03-04-2008, 02:41 PM


COLORED CRAYON WITH "[OiC]" following. Could this mean Oil Crayon.
Most of the links call up a work and details of its sale, medium, etc. Click on the zoom
icon at the top of that window and see an enlarged version to study the detail of
the textures and marks.
Would like to know what others think about these works (every link is Post-1950 so
should be after the development of the OPs by Sennelier.

:eek: :eek: The links did not work after I posted so I removed them.

:eek: :eek:
Search link too complex. Go the home page link, go to artworks and search and specify various criteria. I selected 1950 start, Crayon as Medium keyword and sorted by Medium. Many "sketch" like works.

Bill:music: :heart: :music:

03-04-2008, 04:00 PM
Wow, Beate! You have been a busy girl! :) Thanks so much for taking the time to try to track the info down. I've gotten very curious about all this.

Thanks to you, too, Bill.

I don't have time to follow all the links right now, but I wanted to thank both of you. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Mar-2008/85002-Animated-CrowdApplauding.gif

Pat Isaac
03-04-2008, 04:27 PM
Thanks for all these links, Bill. I'll peruse them over the next few days.
Great photo, Annie!!:thumbsup:


03-04-2008, 04:47 PM
Thanks Pat and Annie-
I'm really curious about the ones labelled

Colored Crayon [OiC]

unless in my ignorance [OiC] means something to artists. This is a gold mine of Picasso works catalogued dating all the way back (by year, month, day) to the late l800's. There are many works Post 1950 that refer to some version of Crayon on paper.

Annie--great pic! Hope you are beyond your illness and back to full strength!!! I know how you love central america and I really wish you could have joined us as you would have love the trip. !!!! I'm going to get an album together for the reflib and maybe you can help me develop some paintings from the pics. That's a thread I have thought would be interesting, taking a theme with ref pics and going through the Concept to Completion process with help from everyone; resulting in a thematic series of paintings. We get hung up on the actual painting process, but there is soooooo much that really must be considered and worked out before you ever put OP to support. Sometimes I think people get the idea that you just start painting and it happens by magic. As poorly as I execute works, I spend lots of time looking at photos, thinking about crops, what should go in, be left out. The hardest part for me is with OP thinking in terms of color schemes and harmonies since mixing colors is not as easy as with paints.

Anyway. I have come to have a new appreciation for Picasso even if I haven't found definitive answers. That's what makes the hunt so great. Even if you aren't successful you have learned along the way!!!!

:music: :heart: :music:


03-04-2008, 06:09 PM

I decided to ask you once more what you think about this painting. I know it had been made long before Picasso had the Senns developed. Yet, when I look at the portrait esp the lines on the wall seem to be oil pastel strokes to me, but I have no experience with oil painting.

(You can open a larger image on this site)

Thank you for looking.

Pat Isaac
03-04-2008, 06:14 PM
I did look at this, Beate and since it was oil on fabric I can see the texture of the fabric and rough lines. I does appear similar to an OP work.


03-04-2008, 07:38 PM
Beate, I think that this looks very much like an oil pastel as well. You mentioned that the painting is classed as "oil on fabric" (Personally, I was not able to find that reference). The many lines on the background wall appear to be done with a continuous single stroke. Neither the thickness of the line nor the load of pigment changes for the entire length of the stroke, so, best as I could tell, this could not have been done with a brush loaded with oil paint.

I suppose that the painting could have been done with dry pastels but since you say that it is classed as an oil, it could lead one to believe that it's an oil pastel rather than it's dry sister. Recall that it was mentioned here that the medium Oil Pastel was not coined until sometime after it's development and since there was no term for it, it's possible that it was just classified as an oil, since the medium did contain oil and the finished paintings done in this medium can have an oil painting look.

Remember also that Oil Pastels existed before Sennelier. Sakura (CrayPas)developed them in the 1920's and perhaps Picasso had gotten a hold of some.

At least one strong point of skepticism stands out though: Why would Sennelier feature this painting promoting their brand (of OP?), if at some point it could shown (to their embarrassment) that it was actually executed with a competitors product?

Other opinions welcome...

Bill, I've started to go through the many examples of crayon attributed works on the Picasso Project site and many also look interesting. However, I've not been able to go through most of the listed pages, as my computer sometime freezes while attempting to use their zoom feature. I'll try again later.


03-04-2008, 10:41 PM
I'm particularly interested in what you thing of the works labelled

Colored Crayon [OiC] could the OiC stand for Oil Crayon???

There are also a number of works on paper referred to has having been executed with "Pastel CRAYON". I this was simply pastel, why the crayon.
Works in Conte Crayon are so labeled. Possible this simply means hard pastel vs. soft?


03-05-2008, 04:06 AM
Beate, I think that this looks very much like an oil pastel as well. You mentioned that the painting is classed as "oil on fabric" (Personally, I was not able to find that reference). ...
At the CGFA site at this link (http://sunsite.icm.edu.pl/cjackson/picasso/picasso2.htm)the work Portrait of Dora Maar is described as "oil on canvas"--nothing unusual about it. You can click on its thumbnail to get a bigger picture. A bit of trivia: it was painted the same year as Guernica.

Remember also that Oil Pastels existed before Sennelier. Sakura (CrayPas)developed them in the 1920's and perhaps Picasso had gotten a hold of some.
This is quite possible. I read somewhere on the Internet (though hardly from a primary source) that Picasso was familiar with CrayPas. I speculate from that that he couldn't get them during WWII or the confusion of the post-war era, probably decided he wanted a more "professional" product anyway, and so went to Sennelier.

At least one strong point of skepticism stands out though: Why would Sennelier feature this painting promoting their brand (of OP?), if at some point it could shown (to their embarrassment) that it was actually executed with a competitors product?

Sennelier didn't. It's used in the description of all the products that Sennelier sells and that you can buy at retailer Madison Arts.

I this was simply pastel, why the crayon.
Works in Conte Crayon are so labeled.
I believe crayon in French refers to any style of stick-like drawing instrument. It's much too generic a term to make deductions from.

03-05-2008, 04:08 AM
Thanks for hte link to the tamu Picasso site Bill. I searched on pastel medium and found this one listed. It is described as pencil and oil pastel on paper. There wer 40 hits on a search for pastel medium starting in 1950. This one is on the 2nd page of hits, next to last on the page when I searched.. I don't really like this one, but it is described as oil pastel. Looks like a very cursory application of OP with some pencil drawing. Maybe a little vulgar too.

Description from the online Picasso website below:

Femme nue couchée sur le dos VIII
Location:MouginsDate:23-December/1971Medium:Pencil & oil pastel on paperDimension:36,8 x 31,8 cmCollection:Sotheby'sInventory:#331, N07892, 05/07/03Catalog:OPP.71:190

03-05-2008, 06:35 AM
Leo and Starblue -
I read somewhere on the Internet (though hardly from a primary source) that Picasso was familiar with CrayPas. I speculate from that that he couldn't get them during WWII or the confusion of the post-war era, probably decided he wanted a more "professional" product anyway, and so went to Sennelier.

That makes sense to me.

I hope Mr Sennelier will answer my email and solve this puzzle. I´ve also tried to call him, but there was only a French automatic voice. Unfortunately I don´t speak French :crying:. I´ll try once more and hope he speaks English.

Really interesting search

03-05-2008, 09:59 AM
I believe crayon in French refers to any style of stick-like drawing instrument. It's much too generic a term to make deductions from.

I suspect you are correct Bob, I'm still curious as to what you think the notation "[OiC]" following colored crayon might mean. Any conjecture or idea?

In some ways, at this point the orignal question, to me, has become less relevant than the vast amount of information and knowledge the search has led me to about Picasso and his work and history!

Thanks for your insight, Bob. My best friend is a Texan and your logic and way of looking at things reminds me much of his way of thinking; often consulted when I needed advice on things.

:music: :heart: :music:

03-05-2008, 12:39 PM
Bob, "crayon" in French refers to a pencil. "Crayon mine" in French refers to a lead pencil.

The French "craie" means chalk or crayon. "Craies de cire" or "craies d'ecole" can refer to the familiar wax crayons such as crayola.

I found this definition for artists crayons:
"Craies d'artiste": Artists' coloured crayons can be more or less, dry or greasy and can be close to oil pastels.

According to the French Wikipedia "pastels gras (a l'huile)" were invented in 1924 by Rinzo Satake and Shuku Sasaki.

"Gras" as an adjective refers to fat or grease. "A l'huile" refers to oil.

The French definition of pastel in the "Glossaire Arts Plastiques" is:
"Le pastel est un batonnet de pigments secs ou gras. C'est aussi une oeuvre realisee avec cette technique."

A loose translation of this could be:
The pastel is a small stick of pigments either dry or greasy. It is also a work done with this technique.

It's interesting to note that no mention is made of the drying or non-drying nature of oil pastels and that the French definition is broader. For many of Picasso's works the materials and techniques would be translations of the French.

Please excuse the lack of accents in the preceding but I couldn't figure out how to put them in.


03-05-2008, 06:42 PM
Wendell--YOU ROCK when it comes to art info!! You are like a walking, painting, artistic encyclopedia. I am in awe of your knowledge. (Besides, my French ancestors were driven from Acadia by the British and even though I'm an anglophile I have never resolved the conflict between the Anglo roots of my mother with the Acadian French roots of my father. So my mother's ancestors committed attrocities against my dad's. Oh the burden of the Inner Conflict.

Whatever he did with OP's, I have learned he was one complex dude!!!!


03-05-2008, 06:52 PM
Here's the definition of crayon, from artlex.com:
crayon - Traditionally, any drawing material made in stick form, including chalk, pastel, conté crayons, charcoal, lithographic and other grease crayons, as well as wax crayons.
I've seen more or less this definition in various art books too. I'm pretty sure the word is French, but it's being used in an "art jargon" form, not everyday vernacular. It's no biggie. My point was merely that one can't make any deductions based on the word "crayon" alone.

03-06-2008, 04:14 AM
I had a look in the On-line Picasso Project and on page 6 and 7 of the year 1970 there are some paintings that look like oil pastel to me. Esp the blended parts. I post one of those COLOUR CRAYONS as an example here (Le Peintre et Son Modele VIII).


http://picasso.tamu.edu/picasso/graphics/1970/ythumbs/yopp70-152.jpg (http://picasso.tamu.edu/picasso/ImgViewer?imageURL=./graphics/1970/opp70-152.jpg)

What do you think?


03-06-2008, 12:13 PM
Anyone who reads French or who has a good French-English dictionary may want to go to the website of the Centre Pompidou in Paris ( www.centrepompidou.fr ). Bill, you might want to reconnect with your French roots. The documentation on their large collection of Picassos is excellent. As someone who is fluent in French, I found some of the translations on the tamu site to be inconsistent.

There are some small sketches such as "Sans titre" and "Buste d'homme et oiseau" which were done in "pastel gras" which to me is undoubtedly what we know as oil pastel. The lines are quite large and the colours bright.

There is also "Portrait de Michel Leiris" from 1963 which is done with "graphite et pastels gras".

"Le peintre et son modele" is similar to the one Beate posted except it is done with "peinture a la cire" which is wax paint.

Because of their small size, fine lines and less vivid colours the works that were done in "crayons de couleur" appear to have been done with coloured pencil.

In Harrap's French and English Dictionary the translation of coloured pencil into French is "crayon de couleur".


03-06-2008, 05:03 PM
Wendell--Thanks for your insight and expertise here. As always your comments are thoughtful and informed.

To me the "mystery" has become secondary to the vast amount I've learned about Picasso and his work through these discussions. I have no doubt that you are probably among the most experienced ones to judge the likelihood of a work being OP based on examining a digital image.

IMHO, we really have gotten to the point that would require actual physical access to and examination of these works to definitively say whether they are OP. We have found lots of potential examples and I'm sure there are many more among the 20,000 (if memory serves me correctly) works he produced. While some can make more educated speculation than others, in the end without examining the works or lacking documentation we are still left with, at best, well informed and educated speculation.

Wendell, would you agree with this assessment, or am I off base here?

:music: :heart: :music:

03-06-2008, 06:58 PM
Bill, I like to look for works in the collections of large well-known museums. Le Centre Pompidou would certainly qualify as a major museum of modern art. First of all the resolution of the image is usually higher and the works better photographed. They not only have access to the works for careful study but they have the best conservators and modern labs. As you know from the academic world the source of the research material is extremely important.

Three of their works are documented as being "pastel gras". According to Harrap's the English words for "gras" can be greasy or oily. In French the adjective follows the noun so the translation into English could be oily pastel which to me is certainly close enough to oil pastel. On the tamu site the work is documented as being simply in pastel which for me is not enough information.

By the way, I've come across three meanings in French for oil pastel. On the French site of Kama pigments, their oil pastels are "Pastels extra-gras". On the labels of Senneliers is the French "Pastel a l'huile" while on some of the older Caran d'Ache Neopastels is the French "Craie d'art a l'huile". This translates roughly into English as Oil art crayon. Look closely at the oil pastels you have.


03-06-2008, 07:41 PM
Yes, the variation in how works are labelled is daunting, especially for a novice like me, Wendell. That's why, in spite of looking for pieces, I really don't feel qualified to tell (probably not even by inspection). Being bilingual certainly is a great asset in this particular search. There seems to be so many interpretations of the word "crayon". That's why I tried to focus on looking for crayon in combination with things like "wax" or "oil", but even that can be deceptive.

I guess I'm satisfied that there are works to be found that are OP. If I understand correctly, a greater percentage of Picasso's effort seemed to be focused on "drawing" and images produced on "paper" seem much more prevalent in his later years. This would certainly be consistent with the probable use of OP, but we again are hobbled by the fact that the term OP evolved after the Sennelier OP's were developed. This seems to complicate interpreting what web sites refer to as the media used on various works.

Until this search I had NO IDEA of how prolific Picasso was.

An quote from Renoir I found interesting was

"[B]One morning one of us had run out of black, and that was the birth of Impressionism Pierre-Auguste Renoir


03-06-2008, 09:09 PM
Bill, I think you have to remember that a lot of Picasso's works are small sketches. Early in his career he probably threw out the scribbled sketches but I guess that changed later when they could be sold. The works that I think are oil pastels are just little sketches and probably not great works.

I love the Renoir quote. Was it Cezanne who said that Monet was just painting pretty pictures to sell to American tourists?

Well, I've got to go and paint some pretty pictures to sell to tourists!



03-07-2008, 06:10 PM
Wendell, I was unable to find references or images of any of the three probable oil pastels that you mentioned on the French language Centre Pompidou web site.

I tried a title search using the French titles you provided on the pages own search tool but the results came up with zero finds. Navigating the site may also have challenges for others who don't know French. Any chance that you can post the actual link to a page of at least one of the Picasso OP's that you mentioned? Many thanks,


03-07-2008, 07:42 PM

Leo, I hope this comes up but here is one of the images and I'll try for another...


I'm not very adept in technology but I'll try to explain. You can do a certain amount in English but the important information is only in French. The works come up in different pop-up windows.

Go to the Centre Pompidou website and click on "francais".
Click on "ressources en ligne".
Click on "Collection en ligne".
In "recherche rapide" type in: Picasso, Pablo
Another window will come up and in "aller page" type in: 8
Click on the image that I've uploaded above ("sans titre").
Another window will come up with the image and when you roll your mouse over it the information will pop up.

Maybe you can try to provide direct links to the information. It's easy for me sometimes to switch to the French way of thinking but difficult to translate it to the English way of thinking.

I hope you understand some of this...


03-07-2008, 08:00 PM
Here is another one:


This is "Portrait de Michel Leiris" and it was done in 1963. The medium used was "graphite et pastels gras".

It certainly looks like oil pastel and graphite to me.


03-07-2008, 09:39 PM

I think this link should work to take you to the images Wendell is referring to:


This will take you to the page where you can search for Picasso:

This is tricky to do since the images are managed in a "slide show format" by a javascript popup window. The top links go directly to the jpg but without any info. the fourth link goes to the page where you can enter Picasso, Pablo as instructed by Wendell.


03-07-2008, 10:12 PM
What about this one. Several medial listed ending with "huile et craie sur papier"



03-07-2008, 11:07 PM
Bill, thank you so much for the links! Were my instructions clear enough?

I'm sure when Picasso was sketching in his studio he just grabbed whatever was handy that would do the job. For his large paintings he would probably be more careful.

As for the "huile et craie sur papier" the presence of oil, wax and pigments is indicated and these are the ingredients for oil pastels. I think that there might be some oil pastel in there. Do you think the other works are oil pastel?

By the way, do any of your Neopastels have "Craie d'art a l'huile" on the label?

Thanks again for your help...


03-08-2008, 03:00 PM
Bill, I went back, zoomed in and looked more carefully at the "huile et craie sur papier" and I think it is finished with oil pastels. I guess it would take a chemical analysis to be sure and that would be difficult on a fragile work.

Pat, what do you think?


Pat Isaac
03-08-2008, 03:13 PM
I think it is also. It sure looks like it and there may even be some sgraffito techniques in there.


03-08-2008, 06:57 PM
Wendell--Your instructions were fine. Besides, I have been dealing with the web since it appeared and can generally find a way to navigate around even foreign laguage sites.

The problem was tricky to get the links because the search and display system is a complicated javascript program if you copy the shortcut to one of the images from the popup window all it does is take you back to the search page (although by checking "Do not show this window again" I got the display of the alphabetic search index). Basically, I had to use the sam technique as with the image resizer that was giving Pat problems with her Mac, get the ino on the direct link to the image itself. The way to do this was to click on the link and display the large image, then right click on the image (PC) and select propeties where the actual link is displayed and can be selected and copied to the clipboard. This provides a link to the image but doesn't provide the disply of info with the mouse rollover. (I know, this is far more than you ever wanted to know. Bad habit of mine that my wonderful wife constantly reminds me about! That and the steacher in me.)

Anyway, you and Pat are far more qualified to determine by examination than I, but I will say that I am convinced that some of the images we have examined in this thread are oil pastel like material of some sort. The language barrier and the later appearance of the name Oil Pastel complicates things.

There is an intersting side question. Just when did the term Oil Pastel appear and who coined it. In the article some time ago in the Pastel Journal Margot Sch....(can't remember last part of her name) compared the two media and if memory serves me I think she stated that Sakura might have developed the term as a marketing device. When Sennelier produced his product for Picasso, he had no real name for it. Picasso ordered 50 sticks EACH of every original color. Sennelier made extras and simply placed them out in his shop where people purchased and liked them.

Now the fact that Picasso purchased such a large number of each color suggests that this was more than a curiosity and seems to indicate a serious interest in exploring or using them for some purpose. I am still inclined to think that Sennelier (and probably Piccasso) really viewed these as more of a variant on the oil medium than the pastel medium (pure speculation on my part). This would seem particularly likely since Sennelier's product is still the softest, creamiest and most oil like (would you agree??).

I think you are absolutely correct that making an assessment that offered some degree of certitude would require physical and chemical inpection of the works.

Anyway, those are my humble thoughts. I continue to say that this search, no matter what level of success we may have had, has (at the very least for me) been very enlightning and given me a greater appreciation for the range and evolution of Picasso's work.

In fact, Wendell, you and your "How about a Renoir or Sargent...?" has gotten me hooked on looking at Renoir and his life and what an interesting story it is. I always thought I had a reasonable ideal of Renoir's "style", but his prolific output of about 6000 works (many of them with hands deformed and painful due to crippling rheumatoid arthritis; even painting with brushes tied to his hands!) has made me realize that many of his works I would have NEVER guessed were Renoir before.

BTW, Pat, I still haven't gotten my EGOP's and have no idea where in the Canadian Postal system they are! Have received yours or know where they are??????

:confused: :confused:

:music: :heart: :music:

03-08-2008, 07:02 PM
To your question about the NeoPastels. The OP labels themselves are mostly English except for color names. On the tin, however, the French description is

Pastels d'art a l'huile (accent on a, can't do that)

Does that help??


Pat Isaac
03-08-2008, 07:09 PM
Actually, I think Sakura called their sticks oil crayons and that is still what they were referred to for many of the years that I was teaching, so I don't think oil pastel was coined by Sakura. Actually, they were and are still known as Cray-pas which is a combination of crayons and pastels, but not oil pastel. Not sure where the name came from or who first coined it.
No, I don't have my extra greasys yet......:( and I don't know where they are...last in the Quebec area.


03-08-2008, 08:25 PM
Thanks Wendell and Bill for posting the images and/or links. From Wendells translation of the French, it certainly is quite convincing (at least to me), that Picasso used OP in these drawings. Hey, even I understood gras, huile as roughly French for fat & oil, coming from a background in new product development for food companies for many years.

I thought that I'd also add this posting from the history section of Oil Pastels Societies website. Although I can't clearly detect a Picasso signature on it, I do recall seeing this particular piece while scrolling through the many pages of Picasso Project website that Bill provided.


By the way, my earliest memory of first using this medium was 1966/67 in my grade 7 art class. I'm giving away my age but I quite sure that we called them oil pastels at the time. I recall that once the class had completed their drawings, that the teacher provided large cans of dark blue watercolour paint as the next step in the process. Our job was then to broad brush over our drawings with this blue watercolour paint. The oil pigment in our drawings would of course displace the saturated watercolour, for some very interesting effects. I still occasionally use this technique(sparingly and locally), if I want to modify the background colour without losing the integrity of the drawing. I think that I brought up this technique once in another thread and Pat (being the teacher), had a name for this method which I don't recall.

Many thanks, especially to Wendell and Bill for their great detective work. Beate too, as the paintings you posted also look much like OP, even if the documented medium of the drawings wasn't as clear cut.

Bill, I really like the idea of trying to find out how the term oil pastel came about. But don't use my early experience of the medium, as being a reliable benchmark of the name being in use in the mid 60's. My memory has never been that keen, let alone of something that happened over 40 years ago!


03-08-2008, 09:01 PM
Bill and Pat, I suspect your EGOPs are stuck in customs at the border, in your case, American customs. Every time I order from the United States my order gets stuck in Canadian customs. I always blamed it on the inefficiency of the Can. Government that I think still uses typewriters and carbon paper to fill out all their stupid forms...OOPS, I better not get started!

Anyway I hope you get them soon. I got my two orders in only four days.


03-08-2008, 11:49 PM
Thanks much to you for reviving this thread. As I have said, in some ways the real value was in all the things learned in the search and the interchange of ideas. I think I'll try working on the history of the Oil Pastel name as time alliows because clearly the beinning of the use of that term would certainly give us a reference point relative to timing of Picasso's later works.

It has, and continues to be a journey of discovery whether we find the final answer or not. Somewhat like the journey of a painting, making stops along the way but never really being "finished" until te artist decides they will work on it no more. Even then they may change their mind. Ironically, I recall a visit to, I think the Art Inst. of Chicago, where they had some panels that were part of a famous large painting of a man and woman and at some point he had decided he didn't like the composition and cut part out and it somehow survived. I can't remember the details since it has been a while, but it gave some insight into the sometimes unending process of creating a piece of art.

Wendell- Did the "Pastels d'arte a l'huile" mean anything significant to you (from the NeoPastels)?

:music: :heart: :music:

03-09-2008, 12:01 AM
Bill, I guess they've just changed the label. The older Neopastels have "Artist oil - crayon" and in French "Craie d'art a l'huile".


03-09-2008, 12:42 AM
Just came across this interesting tidbit of information at the following site:


This is quoted from their site:

Begin Quote:
History of Oil Pastel

The new education policy of Post World War I Japan led to the invention of Oil Pastel. The Japanese government decided that children of Japan needed a new medium to express their creativity. Oil pastels were an immediate commercial success and other manufacturers were quick to take up the idea, such as Dutch company Talens, who began to produce Panda Pastels in 1930. Yet, none of these can even come close to the prefssionally manufacture oil pastel available in the market today.

End Quote

If this is true, then the medium, whatever it was called, was being manufactured by Talens in the 1930's. Would this have been a more likely pathway for Picasso's exposure to early, lower quality forms of the medium????

:music: :heart: :music:

03-09-2008, 12:50 AM
An interesting Russian link (English translation in right hand column. Has some interesting notes of OP history and some contemporay users experimenting witht he medium. Have not read it completely, but looks interesting.

03-09-2008, 01:04 AM
Even more interesting detail on origin of OP.
According to this it was SAKURA themselves that persuaded "avant garde" artists such as Picasso to familiarize themselves with the medium!!!!!

This is a twist I have not seen before. This also supports the contention that the Japanese Government was involved in encouraging the development of a new art medium for school children and the Talens was manufacturing Panda Pastels in the 1930's. The statement that Picasso approached Sennelier because he was unable to obtain "Oil Pastels" due to the war suggests that he most likely had been using th medium well before Sennelier entered the picture.

This is a twist I have not seen related anywhere else.

Site URL is:


Quoting from the site is the following section:

History of Oil Pastels
Oil pastel is a painting and drawing medium with characteristics similar to pastels and wax crayons. Unlike "soft" or "French" pastel sticks, which are made with a gum or methyl cellulose binder, oil pastels consist of pigment mixed with a non-drying oil and wax binder. The surface of an oil pastel painting is therefore less powdery, but more difficult to protect with a fixative.

At the end of World War I, Kanae Yamamoto proposed an overhaul of the Japanese education system. He thought that it had been geared too much towards uncritical absorption of information by imitation and wanted to promote a less restraining system, a vision he expounded in his book Theory of self-expression which described the Jiyu-ga method, "learning without a teacher".
Teachers Rinzo Satake and his brother-in-law Shuku Sasaki read Yamamoto's work and became fanatical supporters. They became keen to implement his ideas by replacing the many hours Japanese children had to spend drawing ideograms with black Indian ink with free drawing hours, filled with as much as colour as possible. For this, they decided to produce an improved wax crayon and in 1921 founded the Sakura Cray-Pas Company and began production.

The new product wasn't completely satisfactory, pigment concentration was low and blending or impasto was impossible, so in 1924 they decided to develop a high viscosity crayon: the oil pastel. This used a mixture of mashed paraffin, stearic acid and coconut oil as a binder. Designed as a relatively cheap, easily applied, colorful medium, oil pastels granted younger artists and students a greater freedom of expression than the expensive chalk-like pastels normally associated with the fine arts.
Until the addition of a stabiliser in 1927, oil pastels came in two types: winter pastels with additional oil to prevent hardening and summer pastels with little oil to avoid melting. State schools simply couldn't afford the medium and, suspicious of the very idea of "self-expression" in general, favoured the coloured pencil, a cheaper German invention then widely promoted in Europe as a means to instill work discipline in young children.
Oil pastels were an immediate commercial success and other manufacturers were quick to take up the idea, such as Dutch company Talens, who began to produce Panda Pastels in 1930. However, none of these were comparable to the professional quality oil pastels produced today. These early products were intended to introduce western art education to Japanese children, and not as a fine arts medium, although Sakura managed to persuade some avantguard artists to acquaint themselves with the technique, among them Pablo Picasso. In 1947 Picasso, who for many years had been unable to procure oil pastels because of the war conditions, convinced Henri Sennelier, a French manufacturer who specialised in high quality art products, to develop a fine arts version. In 1949 Sennelier produced the first oil pastels intended for professionals and experienced artists.
These were superior in wax viscosity, texture and pigment quality and capable of producing more consistent and attractive work. The Japanese Holbein brand of oil pastel appeared in the mid-1980s with both student and professional grades; the latter with a range of 225 colours. Another brand, Caran d'Ache, introduced Neocolor wax crayons onto the market in 1965, using a patented polyethylene wax with superior lubrication; in the nineties these were developed into an oil pastel, Neopastle.



:music: :heart: :music:

03-09-2008, 01:10 AM
Link to Amazon.com site with book by Kenneth Leslie dedicated solely to Oil Pastel. Published by Watson Guptil in 1990. Is this a book others are familiar with?? Seems out of print and somewhat pricey.


:music: :heart: :music:

Pat Isaac
03-09-2008, 10:33 AM
All of this is very interesting and I had not heard of Sakura persuading Picasso to try the medium. I did the history for the OPS and I had a hard time finding any of Picasso's OPs. That was the only one I could find at the time. Maybe its time to revamp the history. Recently I have been trying to find exactly when oil pastel was coined....no luck yet.
:eek: American customs.....I hope they don't melt!


03-09-2008, 04:54 PM
Yes, I just searched for Oil Pastel History and these were two sites I found. I'm going to continue to look, as I think the use of the term Oil Pastel in these articles does not necessarily mean that is what they were called at the time. I was not really aware of the government's role in encouraging the effort, or that anyone but Sakura had produced them prior to Sennelier. I had trouble sorting through the Russian prose, so I am not sure of the dates of some of the things he was referring to, but there are products (perhaps experimental) that I had not heard about and the idea of "glue" combined with pastel makes some common sense. In fact I once toyed with the idea of trying a spray adhesive on pastel paper to see if soft pastels would not "dust' but stick better.

Combined with some earlier posts in this thread that suggested as far back as Degas there may have been experiments with at least dipping pastel into oil, the evolution of the medium may be more complex than we have thusfar thought.

With some aditional effort perhaps we can come up with enough interesting information to not only rewrite the OPS history of Oil Pastels but generate an article for one of the generalist art magazines that would bring this to broader public attention in the art world.

The Russian article made an interesting statement about that artist being one of few, if not the only one, experimenting with OP. Perhaps we need to make some international contacts.

Anyway, I thought the information was something I had never heard and if it is new to you then it is something we need to follow up on. I will keep posting stuff I find, Pat, but folks like you and Wendell are far more capable of sorting out the important info. I have more time to do some of the digging so perhaps this will continue to be a fruitful thread. I think it has leas to some very interesting discussions!!! Thank you Leo for reviving it!

Wendell--Get a generator, there's interesting stuff we need your terse, analytical and multilingual view on (BTW, happen to speak RUSSIAN as well???)


:music: :heart: :music:

Pat Isaac
03-09-2008, 05:12 PM
I agree, Bill and the more I look into this, the more interesting it gets. Many of the notable artists did do soft pastel and many did them as sketches until the impressionistic period when for some that was their main choice of media. I do know soft pastel artists who use a turpentine wash for their paintings and thus, as you say, there may be more to this than thought. I appreciate all the looking and researching that you all have done.
Carry on and I'll keep looking.


03-09-2008, 06:13 PM
Absolutely, Pat. I am learning more and more and will post things as I find them. Sometimes they may not be significant, but sometimes I don't know enough to judge. Besides, I like doing this and it makes me feel that I am doing something that can be helpful. I appreciate your encouragement. I plan to stay around here a long time, if y'all don't mind. This has become a real "extended family of friends" and I have gotten some PM's that really have uplifted my spirits when you say or share something and it really strikes home to someone and you don't even realize the impact you can have until you get a PM telling you that it was nice that someone else really say and felt wat they were talking about and it made a difference. I know that as a teacher, you understand what I am saying since just when you feel you are at the point of wondering if what you are doing is even important that one student comes to you and tells you that you have made a difference. Even if that is the only student you reached, that is enough to keep you going for quite a while.

I know you have been there, done that!

With great appreciation for helping me find a niche here,

Keep Well

:music: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :music:

Pat Isaac
03-09-2008, 06:39 PM
i absolutely know what you mean about the one student. It is truly uplifting and reaching one makes all the difference.
Looking forward to having you around....


03-09-2008, 07:06 PM
I thought it was worthwhile to put this link in this thread: History of Craypas (http://www.sakuraofamerica.com/?q=Craypas-History). There's nothing there about Picasso knowing about Craypas, though.

Pat Isaac
03-09-2008, 07:14 PM
Thanks, Bob. This is the same history that I had read about Sakura.


03-09-2008, 09:49 PM
I guess I should have said that that link is Sakura's own. They should know their own history better than anyone. They don't claim to have invented the term "oil pastel", however, or that Picasso ever knew of them.

03-10-2008, 03:12 AM
Bob--You may be correct, however, to play devil's advocate, introducing the element of the Picasso story into Sakura's history would inevitably mean they would end up pointing out that Picasso went to Sennelier to develop a similar product (regardless of the reasons). This would not particularly be in the interest of the company to include elements of the history that pointed out the developments of a competitor. Plus, the site is actually Sakura OF AMERICA and it is unclear what the relationship between the American division and original company is.

I'm not saying that either version is right or wrong, just that there seems to be some things that are interesting. I might also point out that nothing I saw in my quick scan of the Sakura site is contradicted by the information given on the other sites. It is simply not as extensive and lacks details present in the other sites that might not be in the best corporate interests of Sakura to include in their history.

I would tend to be more skeptical of a history given by a corporate entity with an image to project and market to promote and thus considerable reason to be somewhat selective in their telling of the history of the product. A non-affiliated site would have less bias and might be more reliable.

Also, the fact they don't mention something really proves only that they have not provided information found elsewhere. If they mentioned the information and pointed out its inaccuracy, then that would be considerably more convincing, IMHO.

Thanks for the link, though, since it provides a basis for comparing facts.

:music: :heart: :heart: :music:

03-10-2008, 11:34 AM
In going through the Centre Pompidou website I noticed that one (and possibly more) of Picasso's works was done with Panda crayons. As you already noted Panda oil pastels or crayons were made by Talens in Holland starting in 1930. They probably were renamed as Van Gogh Oil Pastels. Hence the "Burning Logs" of 1947 by Picasso might have been done with Panda Oil Pastels.

On Ebay now there is an old set of Panda Oil Pastels for sale.


03-10-2008, 01:57 PM
On visiting the Royal Talens website, I noticed that Panda Oil Pastels are still made for school use. Is it possible that Picasso went to Sennelier wanting a softer, higher quality Panda Oil Pastel?


03-10-2008, 04:31 PM
Plus, the site is actually Sakura OF AMERICA and it is unclear what the relationship between the American division and original company is.
The parent company is Sakura Color Products Corporation of Japan and this is their website: http://www.craypas.com/global/ . (Note their domain is "craypas"--the "sakura" domain is some medical company.)

Is it possible that Picasso went to Sennelier wanting a softer, higher quality Panda Oil Pastel?

That's an interesting suggestion that makes a lot of sense to me. Craypas probably weren't available outside of Japan in those days predating globalization (and Picasso never visited Japan) while Pandas were being made practically next door in Holland. Picasso probably knew about Pandas, not Craypas.

Pat Isaac
03-10-2008, 04:40 PM
It's possible. I know that Sakura called their crayons Cray(for crayons) pas(for pastel) and this was on their site so I think Picasso never was there. I agree, bob.


03-10-2008, 06:35 PM
Bob and Pat--

My comments were never intended to suggest Picasso went to Japan. Nor can I say he even knew of Craypas. I'm simply suggesting that there is no conflict between what is on the Craypas site and what is on the sites I linked to.

Simply because the Craypas site fails to mention Picasso has no substantive relationship to whether he was familiar with their product or whether they ever had contact with him.

The thing that strikes me is that there is no contradiction between the more detailed scenario presented on one site and that presented by Craypas. The other site makes assertions not addressed by Craypas, therefore their authenticity can neither be accepted NOR rejected based on what is found on the Craypas site. That will require additional research and it seems that the accuracy of other information provided by the site suggests some knowledge of the facts. The question is what is their source and is that source accurate.

Bottom line, we still do not know when or who first began to use the term Oil Pastel for this medium, we still do not know what type of "greasy" crayon Picasso may have been familiar with prior to approaching Sennelier (actually, my understanding is he sent a message indirectly via a friend), and the site I quoted clearly indicated that it was their understanding that Picasso "was having trouble obtaining this medium becasue of the war. That would be wholly consistent with time frame and coutries that were the primary source of pre-senn "OP", Japan and Denmark, both axis or occupied countries. Picasso, as a spainard would have been in a peculiar position, vis a vis the war, since Spain was not involved directly and it could have been easier for him to work through french connections, IMHO.

I hope no one takes any of this as argumentative, I am simply trying to look at this as objectively as I can. It just seems to me that the evolution of this medium may be a more complicated story than anyone has really assimilated to date.

:wave: :music: :heart: :music: :wave:

03-15-2008, 10:01 PM
For what it's worth, I'm with you on this one Bill. A companies history (as written by themselves) is much more likely to be selective to project the best possible light on their products and image. For this reason, it's prudent to listen to other scenarios and hopefully the most likely sequence of events can be verified and sifted from hype and error.

Really enjoyed reading your latest posts and agree that the mediums history may be more complicated than what we've come to understand.


03-15-2008, 11:18 PM
For what it's worth, I'm with you on this one Bill. A companies history (as written by themselves) is much more likely to be selective to project the best possible light on their products and image. For this reason, it's prudent to listen to other scenarios and hopefully the most likely sequence of events can be verified and sifted from hype and error.

Really enjoyed reading your latest posts and agree that the mediums history may be more complicated than what we've come to understand.


Thanks, Leo. And to Bob for giving us the link to the Sakura site since it is relevant.

I another thread I recalled where I had seen the article dealing with OP vs Pastel (i.e., soft) and cited some relevant passages that relate the history of OP including recoounts of conversations she had with Sakura and Savoire Faire (sp??) officials that give some insight into the name origins. Supposedly when Picasso picked up his order of 30 (not 50 as I stated before) sticks of each of the 48 colors, Sennelier placed the remaining 20 sticks of each color out on his counter in the store and they sold quickly. Supposedly customers came back requesting "those oil pastels" and he began manufacturing them under that name.

The following link will take you to the post:


On a completely different front, I have a rhetorical question to pose vis a vis Picasso and spanish artistis in general. I have lots of art technique books and many are published under the name BARRONS in several series that are, IMHO, very good. Turns out that these are translation from originals published in Spain by an institute or consortium, I'm not sure, of artists. In several of them, while they typically don't expound of OP very much, they tend to occasionally have very extensive treatment of the importance, methods, styles, working characteristics, etc. and step by step demos using "wax artists' crayons". By the description they seem to be something like, the non-watersoluble NeoColors, only fatter like OP.

Now, this may seem like a simplistic and perhaps silly question, but it struck me reviewing one tonight on Form (orig. Forma), that the only place I seem to see extensive discussion of "wax art crayon" techniques is in the spanish art technique books. The obvious questions are,
a.) is this just a fluke of the books I happened to have purchased or does there seem to be more respect for this "crayon" medium as a serious art medium among spanish artists today?

b.) If there is indeed more use of this "crayon" medium among spanish artistis, could this be traced to the influence of Picasso, a spaniard, and his obvious appreciation of the use of "crayon-like" media whether we can discern exactly what their nature and origin was or not?

Maybe I'm making a really long stretch here to see a relationship. It just struck me as interesting and I was wondering if any of you might have some insight or comments regarding this observation.

Am I grasping at historical straws, or could there be some link (probably harder to track down than Picasso's OP's, but that doesn't seem to stop us from speculating, does it)?????

Curious to here anyone's thoughts on either the version of the origin of the OP moniker or the "Spaniard-Wax Crayon" connection.

:music: :heart: :music:

03-21-2008, 10:25 PM
In doing a Google Book Search I ran across these returned listings that seem to indicate in the excerpted preview material they contain information of copies of works that include OP (and some dated in the late 1930's). I also ran across an article by MH Ellis on Wax Crayons that indicated Caran d'Ache claims that Picasso used their wax crayons exclusively in the 1930's (????).

Food for thought. Copies of Google Citations follow:

The Portable Picasso
by Robert Hughes - Art - 2003 - 432 pages
Page 424
====>Large Bather with a Book 270, 18 February 1937, oil, pastel, and charcoal on canvas, 130 x 97.5 cm, Musee Picasso, Paris. Large Profile 382, 7 January 1963, ...

History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Photography - Page 299
by H. Harvard Arnason, Daniel Wheeler - Art - 1986 - 688 pages
===>Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller below: 420. PABLO PICASSO. Girls with a Toy Boat. 1937. Oil, pastel, and crayon on canvas, 50'/ix 763/4". ...

Twentieth-century Modern Masters: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection - Page 204
by Sabine Rewald, William Slattery Lieberman - Art, Modern - 1989 - 355 pages
====>... Pablo Picasso Spanish, 1881-1973 DORA MAAR SEATED IN A WICKER CHAIR Paris, April 29, 1938 Pen and ink, gouache, oil pastel, and crayon, on paper 3o'/2 X ...

Jeppe Hein - Page 8
by Jeppe Hein, Francaise Bertaux, Christine Macel - Art - 2005 - 80 pages

60 Works: Exhibition the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York - Page 9
by Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - Art - 1982 - 68 pages
====>... Pablo Picasso 3. La Baignade. February n, 1937 Oil, pastel and crayon on canvas, ...


:music: :heart: :music: