Sennelier Pastels

The Sennelier legacy began in Paris when Impressionist artists were on the rise. In 1887, Gustave Sennelier opened the doors to the exquisite Maison Sennelier, which became a rendez-vous for artists including Picasso, Cézanne, Monet, and Gaugin. Gustave worked to create a vibrant range of 100 oil colors with the aesthetic guidance of his artist comerades.

As the Sennelier empire expanded to include watercolors, egg tempera, papers, pads, and albums, the line of art supplies became a favorite of the 20th century masters. Gustave eventually handed down the burgeoning business to his son Henri, who worked closely with Picasso to develop the Sennelier line of pastels. Pastels were an avant-garde medium since they were handheld sticks capable of expressive, loose techniques. 

Not only is the Sennelier legacy steeped in art history and family-owned roots, Sennelier products are derived from true, artistic passion. Vibrant, precious colors such as cinnabar, malachite, cadmium red, and lapis lazuli have been added to the range of unique pigments. Today, Gustave's grandson Dominique runs the Maison Sennelier, which remains a true resource for artists across the world. 



Sennelier Pastels carry a deep legacy of venerable art history, and a true devotion to artistic passion. Sennelier's art supplies are a true testament to the importance of color, vibrancy, and expressionism. 


In 1936 Sennelier followed the burgeoning avant-garde movement that was taking shape at this time and opened a second store in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris. Today, the Montparnasse store serves artists who are still faithful to the spirit of Montparnasseís storied past. In 1947 Picasso approached Henri Sennelier to create a completely new medium that had the qualities of vivacity, luminosity and unctuosity in an easy to apply stick form. The result was Sennelierís oil pastels, which instantly became the standard of quality for this medium. The unusually wide range of greys in the oil pastel palette is Picassoís imprimatura and legacy. Sennelier also offers a full line of papers in blocks, pads and albums which were the favorites of the masters of 20th century art. Especially famous is the La Carte pastel board which uses special ingredients in the surface, giving it an unique soft tooth ideal for use with pastels.

Today, Henriís son Dominique is the third generation to direct the Maison Sennelier, and the legacy of tradition and innovation continues with the development of Tinfix Design silk dyes, a 104 color range which is the evolution of the original Tinfix line created in the 1950ís. Recently, a line of artist grade oil sticks made from the same ingredients as Sennelier oils was created for contemporary expressive techniques, allowing painters to apply the paints by hand. Like his grandfather Gustave, Dominique Sennelier holds store hours, and is available to help artists visiting the store with any questions on materials.

The essential factor in all this history is a passion for color, embodied in Sennelierís choice of pigments used in its color ranges. Sennelier circles the globe to find classic pigments such as cobalt, cadmiums and Italian earths that possess qualities that are both beautiful and unique. Rare and precious pigments such as genuine cinnabar, lapis lazuli, gamboge, malachite, verdigris, and bismuth white are the jewels of the Sennelier collection, as well as exquisite natural colorants such as madder and indigo. Sennelier offers a veritable treasure chest of legendary painting mediums and resins such as Dutch Gloss, Turner Transparent and Satin Varnish Medium, as well as true European Venetian Turpentine and a special Maroger Medium formula. Extremely specialized materials such as authentic 19th century lead carbonate primer is also available. Sennelier can provide the artist with whatever materials he or she may need, no matter how esoteric or historic they may be.

Sennelierís expertise in colors and art materials is surpassed only by their passion for them. Sennelier has been a resource for artists since the era of the Impressionists, and that tradition continues today for all customers of the Maison Sennelier.