Portrait of Joseph and his Brother John Gulston (detail), 1754, Francis Cotes, pastel on blue paper, mounted on canvas. The J. Paul Getty Museum Portrait of Joseph and his Brother John Gulston (detail), 1754, Francis Cotes, pastel on blue paper, mounted on canvas. The J. Paul Getty Museum

When eighteenth-century pastellists competed with oil painters for portrait commissions, they faced a challenge. Paper was manufactured in small sheets, and so, to create pastel pictures as large as oil paintings on canvas, artists had to join together multiple sheets of paper.

Disguising seams led to new techniques and opportunities for image manipulation. This installation, which pairs each pastel with a map of its constituent sheets, encourages visitors to consider how these works were created.

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