• Impressionist/Modern Day Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 7833

    Impressionist/Modern Day Sale

    3 February 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 415

    Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

    Deux personnages

    Price Realised  


    Odilon Redon (1840-1916)
    Deux personnages
    oil on canvas
    20 1/8 x 20 1/8 in. (51.2 x 51.2 cm.)

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    Deux personnages 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 enigmatic painting centres on the communion of two figures, one in profile to the left with eyes cast down and his palm facing outwards while the other gazes at him in silent contemplation. The serene pose of the first figure bestows upon him a spiritualized presence in apparent possession of a secret, ineffable knowledge which underlines the apparent reticence on the part of the artist to speak and reveal anything at all. This conception of a heightened and often ambiguous subjectivity was shared by Redon with his friend the poet Stéphane Mallarmé and his Symbolist circle. This painting incorporates a theme that Redon touched on frequently during the 1890s, and then well past the turn of the century: that of a state of rapt, mystical inwardness as the subject engages in quiescent meditation. Previously the tonality of the artist's oeuvre was almost exclusively black and white, however the present work shows a shift in the artist's chromatic focus through the use of strong blues amidst the black pigment of the background and in the flowers and leaves in a halo of pure unpainted canvas in the upper right corner.

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    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 21 April 1971, lot 13.
    Brook Street Gallery, London, by whom acquired at the above sale.
    Anonymous sale, Blache, Versailles, 14 June 1972, lot 63.
    Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 26 March 1980, lot 22.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    World Collectors Annuary, vol. XXIII, 1971.
    World Collectors Annuary, vol. XXV, 1973.
    A. Wildenstein, Odilon Redon, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné, vol. I, Portraits et figures, Paris, 1992, no. 661 (illustrated p. 257).