Three Pastels

by Ellis Augustus Oliver, (1872-1937)
Philadelphia artist



Boats at Rest


Pastel on flint paper, (11.5 x 16 in.)
Subject: Boats on shore.
© Copyright 1995-2006 by Richard Oliver osb

Pastel on flint paper
Subject: Harbor with three-masted ship.
© Copyright 2002 by Richard Oliver osb



Summer Stream

Pastel photographed 10/25/2008


Pastel on flint paper, (11 x 14 in.)
Subject: Summer stream. Style: Impressionism.
© Copyright 2008 by Richard Oliver osb


Note on the pastels of E. A. Oliver

Sadly, unlike many of his extant watercolors that were submitted as entries to organized exhibitions, the pastels presented above, like all others known to me, lack a signature, label, artist's title or date.

E. A. Oliver's masterpiece, a portrait of his only grown daughter, Frances, a competent pastelist in her own right, is as yet inadequately analyzed. That it is wholly pastel, a new medium designed to approximate pastel, primarily oil with pastel or watercolor or both used to texturize her pink, velvet evening dress or primarily pastel with oil or watercolor expeditiously used as fill has not yet been definitively determined. A digitalized version of the portrait of Frances is now available.

The "softness" of pastel as a medium accounts less, I think, for the brilliant and enduring effect of the medium in the above examples. It's possible that they represent "studies" antecedent or attendant to Oliver's creation of the portrait of his beloved daughter whom cirhossis brought home to her Creator only ten years after her father.

"Boats at Rest" might be an attempt to render fog. Undoubtedly, after a song, watercolor, unlike pastel, is the most evanescent of artistic media.

Historical Foundations of Pastel
(APOW: " ...the most permanent of all the mediums in existence")


Thirteen Watercolors

Ellis A. Oliver (1872-1937)



Richard Oliver, OSB
Saint John's Abbey
2900 Abbey Plaza
Collegeville, MN 56321-2015
Comments, questions or suggestions? Write to me.


Rev. 28 May 2009 / © Copyright 1995-2016 by Richard Oliver osb / Created 1995.06.30 /