Society of painters in pastel

DEFINITION

The first organized group in the United States to promote pastels as a serious medium. Founded in 1884 in New York City, the Society was also one of the more short-lived art societies as it dissolved in 1890, having had only four exhibitions. Reasons for termination are vague, but the founding of the New York Water Color Club in 1890 that embraced both watercolor and pastel and had many members of the SPP likely was regarded as a legitimate replacement. Members included Robert Blum, William Merritt Chase, John Twachtman, J. Alden Weir and Hugh Bolton Jones. The Society of Painters in Pastel has been credited as one of the major venues for the spread from Europe to America of the stylistic and personal influence of James McNeill Whistler because of his exhibition promotion in the Society led by Weir, Blum and Twachtman. Whistler, opening the door to Impressionism and Tonalism, has been described as having a "sketchy, intimate, and idiosycratic style, which successfully translated the most transitory effects of atmosphere and light onto toned paper." Source: David A. Cleveland, ???The New York Water Color Club???, ???The Magazine Antiques???, November 2005, pp. 116-121.

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