Quentin Blake: The Sennelier Portraits

At: online at The Coningsby Gallery website, https://www.coningsbygallery.com/shop/artist/Sir+Quentin+Blake

10 March 2020 - 29 May 2020

More info: https://www.coningsbygallery.com/shop/artist/Sir+Quentin+Blake

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Coningsby Gallery is operating reduced opening hours.  All works are listed individually on the gallery website so you can enjoy the exhibition 'virtually' instead - and a full price list is downloadable below.

Using materials from Sennelier, the legendary French art supplies brand,  Quentin Blake has created a brand-new body of work.

Throughout 2019 he created more than 250 new portraits, which all have one thing in common – they have been produced using nothing but a thick, black oil pastel stick by Sennelier.

Some of the works are small (no more than A5-size), while others are large (more than a metre square). Some of the portraits are naturalistic and others grotesques; and the untitled portraits are all characters drawn purely from Quentin’s imagination. He explains:  “I’ve had the stub of a Sennelier oil stick in my studio in Hastings for a very long time. I had bought it on one of my regular trips to France, but just never used it. One day I picked it up and decided to see what it can do – I loved it and that is how all this started.”

The original stick was quickly used up, requiring more to be ordered. “I find it fascinating to see all the different ways I can use just one oil stick to create so many different artistic effects. I keep trying to stop doing the portraits, but I can’t - they just keep coming.”

Sennelier has a long history of working with great artists. Gustave Sennelier opened his art supply store in 1887, near the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in Paris and it wasn’t long before the firm had become famous, thanks to the patronage of the likes of Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, van Gogh, Bonnard, Soutine, Modigliani, Kandinsky and Dali. Indeed, a range of extra-soft pastels - created especially for him - became Degas’ favourite and in 1949, Sennelier’s son Henri, created the first professional-quality oil pastel for Picasso, who wanted colours he could use on any surface, without any special preparation.

Quentin commented,“I am also hoping this exhibition is also a chance for me to say ’Thank you, France’ for the inspiration of their dessinateurs, as well as for allowing me to make drawings for the walls of the Petit Palais, the Hospital Armand Trousseau in Paris and the Maternité in Angers. And, for the welcome and enthusiasm I have received in schools and libraries all over their country. Merci la France!”

'Quentin Blake: The Sennelier Portraits' consists of 57 works, all of which are available to buy; please click the 'Price List' button below for further details.  There is also a special catalogue printed to accompany the exhibition, priced £25.  For sales enquiries, please email [email protected]


Download Price List