The 19th century was the time of renaissance and constant revolution in the history of the pastel. Whereas the generations which followed Quentin de la Tour (1704-1788) for the most part turned away from this medium and its suspect charms, the Romantics and the first Realists took it up again. About 1850, pastel painting came back into its own. From the sketches by Millet and Puvis de Chavannes to the voluptuous women of Aman-Jean and Paul Helleu, observers of Proust's world, pastel went from success to success.
Degas and Manet found they could achieve perfect unity between subject and medium, while Redon adapted the technique to render his subjects radiant, and thus more mysterious. So, with pastel came the fusion of drawing and pure colour, of form and its dissolution, of the image and its infinite vibration.