Henri Roché Pastels

2010 © Astrid Volquardsen

It is funny how a small wooden box can get you all excited. My heart jumped at this sight. The box contains some Roché pastels!

2010 © Astrid Volquardsen

I was surprised how long and quite hard they turned out to be. If you compare them to the hardness of other pastels, I would put them somewhere between Girault and Unison.

Because they are so long, you can hold them at the end and move them easily from top to bottom. It’s obvious why Degas was able to leave with the Roché Pastels the kind of marks one can recognize in his paintings and sketches. Anyway it is a mystery to me how it was possible for him, that the pastel layers stayed on the wrapping paper he used.

Even though the pastels are quite hard, they are too soft to hold many layers on the paper. Clearly one of the reasons why Degas experimented with different types of fixativs and steam.

Unfortunately he kept this secret to himself.

>The cost of one stick with 14 Euros is quite expensive, which probably can be put down to the manufactoring process. (you can watch a film about this here). The pigments quality seems to be very good, but if they are superior to other excellent pastel brands, I doubt. Those who want high quality won’t do anything wrong with the Roché pastels and they certainly do expand the possibilities of further pastel techniques.

Ausschnitt aus einem Bild von Edgar Degas

7 Responses

  1. frankkoebsch

    Hallo Astrid,
    eine interessante Schilderung. Danke für die Beschreibung. Hatte nicht Edgar Degas auch mehrer Bögen Packpapier zusammen gesetzt und so Dinge korrigiiert ?

    Beste Grüße – Frank

  2. Astrid Volquardsen

    Hallo Frank,
    nicht unbedingt zur Korrektur, aber wenn Degas merkte, dass er noch gerne eine Figur im Bild ergänzen würde, dann hat er Packpapier angeklebt. Sehr gut zu sehen in dem Bild Danseueses von 1884.

  3. Jala Pfaff

    Thanks, Astrid, for the review. 14 Euros each? Wow.

  4. Casey Klahn

    I recognize those colors as common to Degas' ballerinas and other figures, too. Is there a name for that set?

    I am trying to decide which green marks my envy. (I hope that joke translates in German)

  5. Brian McGurgan

    Thanks for the review, Astrid. Such beautiful colors in that small set! I've wondered whether the Roche pastels would seem three or four times as nice to me as pastels from Unison or Terry Ludwig – it sounds like you've concluded that, while very nice, the Roche pastels aren't necessarily that much better than other excellent-quality pastels.

  6. Astrid Volquardsen

    Hi Casey,
    I am going to look, if that set had a name. I bought also some extra ones and I will give color notes and numbers in my next post.

  7. Astrid Volquardsen

    Hi Brian,
    yes, that is my impression.
    I really do like though the destinctive marks they can leave on a paper. If they weren't that expensive, I definately would buy more. It will become really intersting to see how their color range will develop, because the owner said that they want to extend it.