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Galerie de France, Paris (1943).
René Touzier, Paris (acquis en 1944).
Collection Tauzin, Bordeaux (vers 1955).
Galerie Tarica, Paris (acquis auprès de celle-ci).
Acquis auprès de celle-ci par Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergé, juin 1988.
S. Sandström, Le monde imaginaire d'Odilon Redon: Etude iconologique, Lund, 1955, p. 222 (illustré, p. 71, fig. 55).
I. Gazdik, Odilon Redon, Bratislava, 1971, no. 11 (illustré).
R. Negri, Odilon Redon, Paris, 1968, p. 2 (illustré, fig. 2).
A. Wildenstein, Odilon Redon, catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné, Lausanne, 1994, vol. II, p. 235, no. 1187 (illustré, p. 233).
Bordeaux, Galerie Goya, Odilon Redon, novembre 1944, no. 6.
Post Lot Text
'MAYBE THERE IS A FIRST HUMANITY TRIED IN THE FLOWER'; CHARCOAL AND PENCIL ON PAPER.
The undisputed genius of fantastical imagery, Odilon Redon mastered the use of the charcoal technique, the profile of which he raised as part of the European symbolist movement. His noirs, as the artist calls them, represent the majority of his works during the 1870s and 1890s. During this period he also devoted himself to lithography, largely in black and white, and produced several albums of his imaginative imagery imbued with questions about the mystery of life.
Il y a peut-être une vision première essayée dans la fleur captures all the poetry of the spiritualist and mythical beliefs of Redon. Inspired by the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, Redon was one of the first to explore the meanderings of the sub-conscious mind, using his art to nurture his personal visions in a haunting manner. He transformed his personal anxiety into a fertile subject of his imagination. The present work depicts a strange flower isolated in a halo of extraordinary brightness. The intense black charcoal which surrounds it highlights the almost monstrous prominence of the open petals and pistules from which the head of a primitive man emerges. The almost Christ-like image may be reminiscent of the haloes of light appearing in religious icons. As a marvelous fantasy, it is also one of those Baudelairienne Fleurs du mal, both poisonous and fascinating, mixing reality with the sublime. Redon was also an expert in the science of botany, to which he had been introduced by his friend Armand Clavaud. The latter's suicide in 1890 would deeply affect the painter, who dedicated Les Songes, a collection which appeared in 1891, to his departed friend.