Acclaimed pastel artist Richard Cletus Pionk, 71, died of cancer June 5 in New York City. Among Pionk’s more than 100 awards were a master pastelist designation from the Pastel Society of America and induction into the society’s Pastel Hall of Fame. The artist also taught at the Art Students League and at the Pastel School at the National Arts Club, and was serving as president of the esteemed Salmagundi Club at the time of his death.
“All I ever wanted to do was be an artist,” Pionk said in an interview with Elizabeth Wilson in the February 2004 issue of The Pastel Journal.
Pionk, who served as a still life juror in the 2005 Pastel 100 competition, was drawn to the classical style of the 18th- and 19th-century French still life painters. His work is admired by so many in this community, and The Pastel Journal offers our sincere sympathy to his family and loved ones.
Donations for the Richard C. Pionk Memorial Fund at the Salmagundi Club can be sent to 47 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10003. A formal memorial service is being planned there for September.