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Jade Pasteur Art  Artist
Acclaimed American Painter in the French Impressionist Style (1914 - 2002)

She always began painting the eyes because she believed that is where you find their character.

"Everything has feeling, has heart. Too much logic destroys art."

She greeted each day as a fresh canvas, Anxious to leave her mark in a flash of color.

Artist, Jade Pasteur, saw beauty in every facet of her life. Proficient in painting, sculpture, acting, and dance, Pasteur honored her gifts and passion for French Impressionism into a collection of uniquely American Fine art, portraits, and murals, over the years. Her work can be found in private collections around the world has been exhibited in fine museums and galleries including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Argent gallery, and the National Academy of Design. She was the youngest artist ever to become a member of the National Association of Women Artists.


Jade Pasteur (Oct 14th 1914 – July 2nd 2002) was an accomplished American painter (portraits and murals, predominantly in the French Impressionist style), dancer (including performances in 15 MGM movies) and sculptor.
Jade Pasteur was born in New Jersey on Oct 14th 1914. Her Father was White Russian and her Mother came from Paris, France. Her mother claimed to be a direct relative of the famous Louis Pasteur. It was this apparent “blood line” connection with the famous French scientist that led to Jade adopting Pasteur as her own name.  Given that she never referenced her father’s name, there has been speculation that Jade’s parents may have been Jewish immigrants and that the adoption of Pasteur as her family name was in part to hide her Jewish heritage.
Jade was a multi talented artist, proficient in painting, sculpture and dance. However over the years her preferred medium became painting, and it is her paintings, predominantly portraits and murals, for which she became known and the means by which she supported herself.
Jade Pasteur was a prolific painter who utilized multiple mediums and styles, though her favorite was the French Impressionist style using oil paints, though she also used pastel crayons for some of her portraits and also experimented by painting on non-traditional mediums such as cloth, in particular red velvet. She was particularly drawn to doing portraits, seeking to reveal the inner most qualities of her subjects.
Another area Jade excelled in was murals, and during her career she was commissioned to do almost 50 murals to enhance the ambiance of public places. The majority of her murals were done up and down the East coast [i] [ii] though towards the end of her career she also did some in the Palm Springs area where she and her second husband had retired to [iii]..
Her work has been exhibited at the then famous Argent Gallery in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the National Academy of Design. In 1951, at the age of 37,[iv] Jade Pasteur became the youngest member of the National Association of Women Artists.
Jade started her artistic life studying painting and dancing at the age of five and was awarded the John Wanamaker medals in New York at the ages of 6, 7 and 8 [v] [vi]. When she was 11 yrs old Jade won a scholarship to study at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art where she was the only girl in a class of 12 students[vii].  This was followed by a scholarship to the Art Students League where she studied under Louis Bouche, Louis Bosa, John Corbeno and William C. McNulty.
Before finishing at the Art Students League, Jade received another scholarship to study sculpturing and painting at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles[viii] where she had the opportunity to work on her sculpturing with the renowned Howard Greisser.
In addition to being a painter, Jade was also a dancer, and was selected to participate in Albertina Rasch’s Ballet troupe, performing in “Petite Ballet” in New York City. Albertina Rasch was closely associated with Florenz Ziegfeld of Ziegfeld Follies fame, both as a dancer and a choreographer [ix] which led to her also having a career in Hollywood as both. “Petite Ballet” did well, and Jade’s performance stood out, resulting in her receiving dance parts in a number of movies when she was in Los Angeles.
Her performances were of such quality that Jade was placed under contract from MGM to do “bit parts” in movies. Jade’s first picture under this arrangement was “Rosalie” with Eleanor Powell and Nelson Eddie in 1933. She appeared in many of the collegiate pictures that were the trend at that time (15 in all[x] [xi]), and shared the screen with Lew Ayers, Charles Bickford, Mickey Rooney, Joe Penner, Gene Krupa, Jeanette McDonald, Nelson Eddy, Ken Murray, Pat O’Brien, George Murphy, Andy Devine and Leslie Howard to name a few.
Working on the making of the “Scarlet Pimpernell”, (1935), with Leslie Howard, under the direction of Harold Young, Jade collapsed from exhaustion brought on by the combination of her ongoing studies at Otis and her hectic schedule at MGM. This proved to be a turning point in her Life.  Whilst resting up after this incident both Leslie Howard and Harold Young visited her, and saw some her artwork. They were both taken by portraits she had done of Franchot Tone, and Ray Enright, another director at MGM, and in acknowledgement of her talent suggested she should focus on her painting.
Jade was just 21 yrs of age when this occurred. She declared to her Mother that she did not want to “get old with bloody toes”, and focused on her studies at Otis [xii].  Around the age of 23 Jade and her Mother returned to New York where she studied again at the Metropolitan Museum of Art whilst also earning a living selling her drawings to the New York Graphic and illustrating books.
Jade had done well with her Hollywood dancing career, and her success at earning a living as an artist back in New York gave her the confidence that she would not be “a starving artist”. She bought a home in Forest Hills, NY shortly after returning East, where she lived with her Mother, who died when Jade was just 25 yrs old.  
Not long after her Mother’s passing Jade moved to Miami Beach, FL. She approached the Saxony Hotel to rent a cabana where she planned to do character sketches of hotel guests. In her first week she earned $400 and simply couldn’t keep up with the demand. The hotel owner was so impressed that he converted the Barber Shop into a studio for her[xiii].
 WWII broke out and once the United States became involved after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941 Jade moved back to New York to help with the war effort. Jade first started working at St Albans Naval Hospital in New York’s Long Island helping doctors in the psychoanalysis of mental patients through painting, and later working at the famous Stage Door Canteen, set up to for members of the armed services during the war[xiv]. Jade remained in New York for a while after the war, during which time she received a scholarship to study at the Art Students League under William McNulty. She continued her formal studies at the National Academy of Design in New York.
 In the late 1940s Jade appears to have criss-crossed the country returning to both California and Florida. It was during one such time in California that her Father died. This prompted Jade to travel back towards Florida, spending several months in the Southwest, visiting American Indian reservations to do a series of sketches and portraits.
Upon her return to Florida she bought a home in Ft Lauderdale, and set up a studio, gallery and art school[xv]. She approached a couple of local merchants to display her paintings in an effort to sell them, including some in the Palm Beach area. Within no time at all one such merchant sold two, and called requesting more.
It was at this time that she met her second husband, Ben York, who was superintendent of recreation for West Palm Beach. It was through his office that Jade started teaching painting to children, especially young children at the Bath & Beach Club[xvi]. She believed a child was never too young, with some of her students being just 2 ½ yrs old. Jade also taught at venues such as Pinecrest School and the Phipps Park Club House [xvii] [xviii].  The use of art as a means to promote an expansive development of people’s personality, especially children, was a primary focus of her teaching career.,
“Everything has feeling, has heart. Too much logic destroys Art”
During her teaching career Jade found herself working with the children of many wealthy elite families, such as the Vanderbelts, Whitneys, Colgates and Pulitzers to name a few[xix].
At the time of her marrying Ben York Jade had two children by her first husband aged 11 and 2, (none of whom Jade ever mentioned or discussed in any detail during any of her interviews). In addition to his position with West Palm Beach, Ben York was a national high diving judge and a member of the selection committee for the United States Olympic Committee.
 As a result of marriage to Ben, and his commitments to the national diving team, Jade had the opportunity to travel to other parts of the world and so absorb directly much of its art that further influenced her own work.
She later moved her gallery to Palm Beach and became a significant part of the areas artistic community, participating in exhibitions, teaching and judging are contests[xx]  [xxi]. This coincided with to Jade starting to receive commissions to create large murals in public venues such as hospitals, community centers and restaurants. Most of these were done on the East Coast, all the way from New York down to Florida. Around this time Jade started to focus less on teaching and more on developing her own art. She also became more involved in organizing local art groups, community exhibits as well as judging and presenting occasional lectures.
In the late 1960s she moved to Burnsville and St Simon’s Island NC when her husband, retired from his position in West Palm Beach, became a recreational consultant to the regional Coastal Area Planning and Development Commission. There, she established another gallery, the Jade Pasteur Art Gallery and School of French Impressionist Painting.  Soon her paintings began to sell for as much as $500 each.  It was here that Jade also resumed her career teaching art, and again focused on young children [xxii] [xxiii] [xxiv] [xxv].
However, it was not all work. Jade and Ben had another passion in their life; breeding and raising Lhasa Apsos dogs, a breed that comes from Tibet, and at that time was quite rare in the United States. They had up to 16 of these dogs at any one time, and were totally committed to them.  
However, over  the years of her career Jade became best known for her many portraits of notable people, including Emett Kelly, Casey Stengel, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein, Madonna, Willie Nelson, and her last was of Walter Annenberg. Her portrait of legendary Casey Stengel, presented to him at the Palm Beach Stadium in March 1965[xxvi] hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
She always began painting the eyes because she believed that is where you find their character.
In the late 1970s Jade crossed the country again, settling in Palm Springs, California with Ben, who died shortly after this move.  
Again Jade threw herself into the local community and started teaching, both children and seniors[xxvii]. Her portraits of famous celebrities drew a lot of attention for their high quality, resulting in her receiving a number of commissions. On such commission came from Indian Palms Country Club, where she was asked to produce 25 portraits during 1980 / 81 of famous people who had been regulars at the resort during its earlier days[xxviii] [xxix].  It was during this time that Jade had the opportunity to present her portrait of William Conrad to the actor during a visit to the resort.
However Jade’s connections with Florida remained strong, and she visited there several times. One such instance was in December 1984 when she presented one of her favorite performers, Willie Nelson with one of two portraits that she had painted of him. Another was in Nov 1986 when a portrait she had painted of the late Christa McAuliffe (the teacher who died in the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster) was presented to the newly opened Christa McAuliffe Community Middle School in Boynton Beach, FL[xxx].
Jade continued to teach and paint, filling every available piece of wall space in her home with her art work, and every spare space in unused rooms as well.  She also continued to travel, and it was whilst on one such trip to London, when she was painting portraits for some prominent Arab families that she became aware of problems with her vision. When reading she couldn’t see part of the sentences.  Upon returning to California she failed the vision test when seeking to renew her driver’s license. She recalled at the time that she thought something must be wrong with the machine.
This impediment did not slow Jade down one bit[xxxi]. She began to volunteer at the Braille Institute in Rancho Mirage, where she continued to teach art into her last years. She was a well known and liked member of the artistic community in Palm Springs where she died July 2, 2002.
Jade Pasteur was a true artist, both in the way she devoted her entire life to dance, sculpture and painting as well as the heights that she achieved a dancer and a painter. As a dancer Jade performed on stage and appeared in 15 MGM movies, often sharing the stage with many of the industry’s iconic performers.
 She was an acknowledged painter, not only through the acceptance of her work through the commissions she received, but also through the recognition given to her by her peers, such as being at that time the youngest member of the prestigious American Women’s Artist Association.
She shared her passion for painting not only through her works, but through her firm belief that people of all ages could enrich their lives through being active participants in this art form. This belief is demonstrated in her work with injured WWII servicemen where she helped many through her use of art as part of their recovery process in St Albans Hospital. It is also seen in how much of her time was devoted to teaching both the young and elderly the  joys of painting. Even when her own eyesight was failing Jade Pasteur turned her energies to helping blind and those with failing eyesight to appreciate the thrill of artistic expression, as seen in her work with the Braille Institute in her last years.
 In these ways Jade Pasteur touched the lives of so many people through her teaching and her actual artwork. Her art work represents one of the true “hidden treasures” of 20th Century America art.
[i] Islander of Hilton Head Island, January 1970, pp 8 & 27
[ii] Savannah News Press Magazine, June 28, 1970, pp 6 & 7; “Jade Pasteur, Nationally Known Artist land on St. Simons Island” by Cliff Sewell.
[iii] Desert Sentinel – September 11, 1991; “Artist Transforms Senior Center with Vivid Mural” by Bob Challinor Jr, Sentinel Editor
[iv] Photo  of National Association of Women Artists, Inc. membership card
[v] Savannah News Press Magazine, June 28, 1970 pp 6 & 7.
[vi] Palm Beach Daily News, January 27, 1967, page 5; “Jade Pasteur One-Woman Show Set for Towers”
[vii] Savannah News Press Magazine, June 28, 1970, pp 6 & 7.
[viii] Savannah News-Press Magazine, June 28, 1970, pp 6 & 7
[x] Islander of Hilton Head Island, January 1970, pp 8 & 27
[xi] Weekly Guide of the Palm Beaches, Week Beginning Dec 26, 1964; “Local gifted Artist Opens Gallery” pp3 & 14.
[xii] The Desert Sun, “People To Know” section: “Artist Relies on Her Mind’s Eye To Paint” by Bert Anderson
[xiii] The Desert Sun, “People To Know” section: “Artist Relies on Her Mind’s Eye To Paint” by Bert Anderson
[xiv] Copy of “Stage Door Canteen” Letter from Virginia Kaye & Vivian Smolen, Co-Chairman Jr, Hostess Committee, June 3, 1944, addressed to Jade Pasteur at 760 West End Ave, New York, New York.
[xv] Weekly Guide of the Palm Beaches, Week Beginning Dec 26, 1964; “Local gifted Artist Opens Gallery” pp3 & 14.
[xvi] Palm Beach Daily News, March 2, 1961; “Art Class at Bath & Tennis Club” Photo and brief write up on page 8.
[xvii] The Palm Beach Post, June 11, 1962; “Preparing for Summer Oil Painting Program”, photo and brief write up on page 15
[xviii] The Palm Beach Times, November 5, 1962; “Hooottt Do Dat…? Asks The Wise Owl”; photo and brief write up on art class for children by Jade Pasteur at Phipps Park.
[xix] Photos available
[xx] Palm Beach Post-Times, August 5, 1962; “Library Art Show Wins warm Parise”, photo and article on page 2.
[xxi] The Palm Beach Post, July 23, 1964; photo and write up of clothes line art show on page 14.
[xxii] The Brunswick News, February 5, 1969; “Two Art classes for Children Scheduled at Island Art Center”, page 10
[xxiii] The Ashville Times, August 6, 1974; “Never Too Young: Jade Pasteur Polishes Art Talent”, by Peggy Luedtke, Times Staff Writer, photo and article on front page and page 3.
[xxiv] The Brunswick News, September 16, 1975; “Island Resident to Teach Children’s Art at College”, by Deborah Clark News Staff Writer on page 8.
[xxv] Avery Journal, June 8, 1972; “At The Jade Pasteur Art Work Shop”
[xxvi]The Palm Beach Times, March 25, 1965; photo (by Ray howard) and brief write up on page 41.
[xxvii] The Desert Sun, February 14, 1978; photo and article page B2
[xxviii] Daily News, December 27, 1980; “Petite, Tireless Artist Shows Vigourous Skill” In Focus by Rita Lewis, Daily News Staff Writer; article & photo on front page.
[xxix] Daily News, February 26, 1981; photo and article about Indian Palms Country Club commission, and presentation of portrait to actor William Conrad.
[xxx] Monday Paper, November 14, 1986; “Astronaut’s Face to Enhance School” by Nancy Whitney, Staff Writer on page 14A
[xxxi] Desert Sentinel, February 2, 1989; “A Gem in Jade” by Kevin Corfield, staff writer; article and photos on page B1

Total Stars: 28
Member Since: November 2012


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