Main Exhibit

gallery collection exhibit

Luminous, Intense and Fresh: The Pastels of Louise Marianetti (1916 - 2009)

March 27 - April 13, 2013

Luminous, Intense and Fresh: The Pastels of Louise E. Marianetti (1916 - 2009) explores the pastel works of Louise Marianetti. Well known for her egg tempera paintings exhibited at Bert Gallery in 2011, Marianetti studied at RISD from 1932 to 1936. She went on to join the Art Students’ League in New York City until 1939, perfecting her artistic technique in several media. In the 1940s she returned to Providence and joined the Providence Art Club. Marianetti began to exhibit her work in local galleries of Providence, Boston, and New York. While Marianetti’s egg tempera paintings earned her critical recognition in her early career, she also enjoyed success in pastel. Using pastel, the artist began to expand the range of her image making. This medium presented a more fluid process of mixing pigments and color, allowing Marianetti’s palette to expand exponentially in color and vibrancy.

Pastel in its modern form was developed around the 18th Century. Pastel gained popularity in portrait painting due to the fact that it allowed for artists to produce the same visual effect of oil painting with fewer, less expensive materials, and in less time with no need for preparing and drying canvases. While pastel was used commonly for portraiture, it was nonetheless considered a secondary medium to oil painting. This notion of pastel began to change in the 19th century with the formation of the Society of American Painters in Pastel under Robert Blum in 1882. This organization attempted, successfully, to elevate the status of pastel to that of more revered media such as oil painting.

The Bert Gallery exhibit includes 12 framed works and provides insight into Marianetti’s technique and approach. Unlike her earlier egg tempera and oil paintings, Marianetti used pastel to expand her style, culminating in an explosion of color and vitality not present in other works. Simple mundane shadows and contours become pools of color with unexpected hues and shades. This use of color, along with her technical prowess, creates a remarkable body of work.

The artist shows skill and ingenuity as a pastel artist and the benefits of expanding beyond oils and watercolors. Marianetti’s pastel paintings are exceptional in skill, execution, and ingenuity; a tribute not only to her legacy but also to the professionalism of women artists we celebrate during Women’s History Month.