International studio — 22.1904

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exact method of his "stumping." pry into the
luminosity and the charm of the Sowers of multi-
coloured dust imparted to the flesh tints of his
portraits or employed in the relief of his decora-
tion. La Touche apologised for the fact that for the
moment he was short of pastels, nearly all his wotk
of the kind having been secured by eager
To all my questions, however, he replied very
clearly; and little remained but to let him sp;ak
for himself as to the matters on which I wished to
hear his views.
"It was not till 1889," he remarked, "that I
began to practise pastel work. At that time I was
no longer the ardent, impetuous beginner. Thus
the curiosity inspired by the process was mingled
with a certain moderation and a maturity, due to
much study and observation, which enabled me at
once to grasp not only all the difficulties in its
employment, but all the varied
richness of its resources. I had
great difficulty in drawing out of
the pastel all or even part of that
which I felt it capable of reveal-
ing, and I cannot honestly say
I have completely conquered
everything its execution de-
mands. Even now I never
approach a pastel with the cer-
tainty, the calm assurance, which
come to me when I lay on my
broad water-colours. Perhaps
this sense of difficulty is peculiar
to myself in my relation to the
soft chalks—at any rate, it is
there. I feel it deeply, and I
do not think I shall ever lose it."
" Then how comes it," I ask,
" that you do not give up pastel
work ? "
"An artist," replies La Touche,
" is like a very lover; he per-
severes in courting the resisting
beauty. May I—ought I to say
that the public has a certain
fancy for my pastels? I am
often asked to do portraits of
ladies and of children; how
better could they be interpreted
than by this most delicate
process ? So I never lose the
knack, and every day I strive
harder to increase my mastery
over this sort of work."
" Exactly ; I understand," is
282

my reply. "But the pastel, it seems to me, is not
really your favourite work ? "
" To tell the truth, it is not," continues Gaston
La Touche. " I make no secret of the fact that I
regard the pastel as absolutely inferior to water-
colour, which is ' /a AW7z<? ztM .MW227--
^ But you must note that I speak
only from my own point of view, for every artist
has his own individual preferences as to the various
methods of execution. In my own opinion the
pastel is, I confess, nought but an extremely fugitive
mode of seizing, by means of the lightest of touches,
certain fancies which seem to demand the efflores-
cent colorations of the butterfly wing. The process
is suited to but very few subjects. It is incom-
parable for the bright tones, the softnesses, the
morbidities (shall I say ?) and the flesh tints of
women and children; for the frou-frou of ribbons,

FROM THE PASTEL HY G. LA TOUCHE
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