Pastel Society of America

New York, NY



26th Annual Open Exhibition Awards

September 12 through October 4, 1998


The 26th Annual Open Exhibition Awards were held September 12 through October 4, 1998 at the National Arts Club Gallery, 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY. There were 171 artists participating from across the United States, plus artists from Canada, China and Japan. Artists received 54 named cash awards, the highest dollar amount being $1,500. In addition seven purchase awards were given. Thirteen exhibitors have images shown in this article. In addition there are links to page one and page two of the official list of prize winners.

Awards jurors for the 26th Annual Open Exhibition were Gary T. Erbe, president of Allied Artists of America, Joanne Kuebler, executive director of Art Students League of New York and Jane Lund, nationally known pastel artist.


Please click on an image to enlarge it.

From left to right: Harvey Dinnerstein,."Self Portrait" 56 x33 inches, Herman Margulies Award for Excellence, Pastel Society ofAmerica 1998 Annual Exh.; Sally Strand "Player Series # 10" 30 x 22 inches, Joseph V. Giffuni Memorial Award, Pastel Society ofAmerica 1998 Annual Exh.; Hang Mingshi "Sunny Morning" 25 x 35 inches, Exceptional Merit, Pastel Society of America 1998 Annual Exh.; Desmond O'Hagan "Cleaning Fish" 20 x 28 inches, Mrs. Pearl Kalikow Award, Pastel Society pfAmerica 1998 Annual Exh.

From left to right: Rae Smith "On Goldfish Pond #23" 25 x 19 inches, Suzanne Lemieux Wilson Award, Pastel Society of America 1998 Annual Exh., Bd. of Director, Pastel Society of America; Christina Debarry "Swnflowers" Pastel on Canson Paper, President, Pastel Society of America; Christina Debarry "Returning Home" Pastel on pastel cloth, President, Pastel Society of America; Christina Debarry "Washington Square, NYC" Pastel on pastel cloth, President, Pastel Society of America


From left to right: Sidney H. Hermel "Urban Shadows #5" 14 x 25 inches, Past President, Pastel Society of America; Lorrie B. Turner "Reflections" 33 x 27 inches, pastel on Canson paper, Bd. of Directors, Pastel Society of America; Lorrie B. Turner "Red Daisies & Silk Scarf" pastel on "La Carte" paper, 26 x 22 inches Bd. Of Directors, Pastel Society of America; Lorrie B. Turner "Open Barn Door" pastel on gessoed board, 25 x 21 inches, Bd. of Directors, Pastel Society of America; Jo Ann Leiser "Fruit Salad" 24 x 18 inches, Bd of Directors, Pastel Society of America


History of Pastel Society of America

The Pastel Society of America, a pastelists' art organization, was founded in 1972, by Flora B. Giffuni, later named Chairperson of PSA. Before that, for years, pastels were shown in all sorts of categories of medium - watercolor, mixed media, graphics and drawing, etc. Pastels were nationally exhibited with the American Watercolor Society, at the National Academy of Design, until its reigning president decided that too many prizes were being won by pastels--a major loss for watercolors! The association was terminated, and many nationally recognized pastelists lost a home.

William Merritt Chase had tried in 1882 to form the first pastel society in the United States which was named Painters in Pastel. Unfortunately, that only lasted six years.

PSA was formed to give pastelists an exhibition space, to enhance the prestige of the medium, which is a direct, vital, vibrant, permanent and legitimate medium in its own right, equal in standing to oil, acrylics and watercolor, requiring no preparatory measures. The artist is the direct interpreter between vision and execution. No brushes, No water, No oil, No anything, but pure pigment and imagination.

Pastel is pure pigment. It is the same used in making all fine art paints without a liquid binder that may fade, yellow, crack or blister with time or exposure to light. Pastels are not chalk!

The advantages of pastel as an artist's medium of great spontaneity and versatility are many. It is a consistently opaque medium of the purest pigment, which reflects light only form the surface. The need that exists in liquid mediums, particularly oils, to preserve the luminosity of the white ground by carefully controlling the transparency and thickness of the layers of dark colors is thus eliminated. Unlike most other mediums in progress, pastel can be applied immediately over dark and opaque, or light and transparent surfaces with marvelous results. They can be used on any number of oil fee, toothed surfaces (ground), and offer a greater range of color and textural subtlety than usually seen in other mediums.

The name pastel comes from the French word pastiche meaning pure powdered pigment ground into a paste with a small amount of gum binder. The paste is rolled and dried in stick form with an infinite variety and value range of colors. Pastels from the 16th century exist today, as fresh as the day they were painted. Some of history's most noted painters used pastels with lasting results.

Leonardo da Vinci and his contemporaries employed red pastels for their figure studies. Modern pastel as a painting medium in its own right, can be traced back to the 18th century. Pastel came into its own in the mid to late 19th century with the advent of the Impressionists and Post Impressionists and used by such great artists as Edgar Degas, William Merritt Chase and Mary Stevenson Cassatt from that era.

Today, Pastel Society of America has been the inspiration and guiding arm for over 30 pastel associations in the United States, as well as several each in England, France and Japan, three in China, and two in Australia.

Pastel Society of America keeps its national members informed of what is going on through a monthly newsletter called Alert and a bi-annual magazine Pastelagram . PSA keeps a slide registry of work to promote sales and each year elects outstanding pastelists to the Pastel Hall of Fame.

The PSA has launched a school for Pastels Only. It is the only school dedicated to this medium, with morning, afternoon and evening classes. The teachers specialize in portrait, figure, landscape, city-scapes, still-life and florals. Limited enrollment allows students personal attention throughout the year and is conducted in an elegant studio in a landmark building on Gramercy Park, in the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South (E. 20th Street), New York, NY 10003.


rev. 11/20/10

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