Odilon Redon (1840-1916)
Property from a Distinguished New York Collector
Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

Fleurs dans un vase

Odilon Redon (1840-1916)
Fleurs dans un vase
signed 'ODILON REDON' (lower right)
pastel on paper laid down on board
24 x 19 1/8 in. (60.7 x 48.6 cm.)
Drawn circa 1905
Andries Bonger, Amsterdam.
Francesca Wilhelmina Maria Bonger, Almen, Netherlands (by descent from the above, 1936).
Private collection, Netherlands (by descent from the above, 1975 and until at least 1993).
Marie Vergottis, Geneva; Estate sale, Sotheby's, London, 27 June 2000, lot 23.
Galerie Cazeau Béraudière, Paris.
Alice Lawrence, New York (acquired from the above, November 2002); Estate sale, Christie's, New York, 5 November 2008, lot 40.
Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2009.
K. Berger, Odilon Redon: Phantasie und Farbe, Cologne, 1964, p. 216, no. 462 (titled Grosser Feldblumenstrauss).
A. Wildenstein, Odilon Redon: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné, Fleurs et paysages, Paris, 1996, vol. III, p. 85, no. 1471 (illustrated).
F. Leeman and F.R.R. de Carvalho, "The Andries Bonger Collection: Catalogue of Works," Odilon Redon and Emile Bernard: Masterpieces from the Andries Bonger Collection, exh. cat., Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, 2009, p. 128, no. 143 (illustrated in color).
New York, Jacques Seligmann & Co., Inc.; The Cleveland Museum of Art and Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, Odilon Redon: Pastels and Drawings, October 1951-March 1952, p. 16, no. 9 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

In January 1900, Redon wrote to Andries Bonger, art collector and first owner of the present work, in high spirits: "I am working as always with great joy on my pastels. And they are pleasing, people want them and they take them from me as soon as they are made." From around this time, Redon began to move away from mystical and symbolist subjects, and increasingly devoted himself to portraits and still lifes such as the present work.
One of the most characteristic features of Redon’s flower pieces is the balance between vision and naturalism, the ambiguity between fantasy and reality. Their ephemeral beauty is, to a large degree, due to Redon's use of pastel. In his hands the medium was capable of rendering form in a light and delicate manner with brilliant and luminous color. His aim in these still lifes was to transform nature into poetry.
In more tangible terms, Redon and his wife took great pleasure in tending their garden in Bièvres, where this bouquet of wildflowers is likely to have stemmed from. While his wife often prepared the bouquets in her husband's atelier, Redon's choice and presentation of the vase or pitcher was often as important to his pictorial intentions as her arrangement of the flowers placed within it. Redon depicted vases that were part of important museum collections such as the Louvre, as well as those that he saw in the context of Universal Exhibitions, while others belonged to his own collection of ceramics and pottery.

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