Odilon Redon (1840-1916)
Fleurs dans un vase
signed 'Odilon Redon' (lower right)
pastel on paper
24 x 19in. (62.2 x 49cm.)
Anon. sale, Htel de ventes mobilires, Biarritz, 22 July 1990
Galerie Casa Bella, Paris (1990)
Anon. sale, Drouot-Montaigne, Paris, 19 October 1995, lot 3 (acquired at the above sale by the present owner)
C. Ritzenthaler and F. Van Wilder, Le Semestriel des arts, March-Aug. 1990, p. 1051
A. Wildenstein, Odilon Redon, Catalogue raisonn de l'oeuvre peint et dessin, vol. III, Fleurs et paysages, Paris 1996, no. 1662 (illustrated p. 186)

Lot Essay

Flower painting dominated Redon's oeuvre from 1903 to 1910, and is a subject to which the artist returned late in his career though he had first explored its potential in the 1860s. To these works Redon brought his fully mature skills as a colourist.

Unlike the closely observed and willfully realistic floral canvases of Fantin-Latour, Redon's flowers are tempered with his imagination and charged with his personal sensuous charisma. 'I have often, as an exercise and as sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its... appearance' Redon declared, 'but that left me sad and dissatisfied. The next day when I let the other source, that of the imagination, run through the recollection of the forms, I was reassured and appeased.' (Redon cited in exh. cat. G. Groom, The Late Work, Odilon Redon: Prince of Dreams, Chicago, The Art Institute, 1994, p. 320).

After 1900, Redon included floral still-lifes in each of his exhibitions, and by 1904 it became his chief focus. His floral pastels were very popular and for a time the artist became concerned that he would be known primarly as a flower painter. After years of working in charcoal and other black and white media, these works were about an explosion of colour in the brilliant flowers they portray.

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