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Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

Fleurs dans une coupe bleue

Details
Odilon Redon (1840-1916) Fleurs dans une coupe bleue signed 'ODILON REDON' (lower right); indistinctly signed again 'ODILON REDON' (lower left) oil on canvas 15 x 18 1/8 in. (38 x 46 cm.) Painted in 1900 in Saint-Georges-de-Didonne
Provenance
Private collection, by whom acquired from the artist in 1900.
Mira Jacob [Galerie Le Bateau-Lavoir], Paris, by whom acquired from the above; her collection sale, Sotheby's, Paris, 23 September 2004, lot 51.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
A. Wildenstein, Odilon Redon, Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint et dessiné, vol. III, Fleurs et paysages, Paris, 1996, no. 1623, p. 167 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Paris, Grand Palais, Trente ans d'art indépendant, Rétrospective, 1926, no. 3163 (titled 'Vase de fleurs').
Paris, Organerie des Tuileries, Odilon Redon, October 1956 - January 1957, no. 139, p. 72 (illustrated pl. XXXVI).
Venice, XXXI Biennale Internationale d'Arte di Venezia, 1962, no. 947.
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Ishbel Gray
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Lot Essay

'A vase of flowers by Odilon Redon projects a protrusion of lanceolate, golden flowers onto the canvas, a kind of vegetal frenzy which merges, achieves a tenebrous zenith and returns, tumbling down in the form of a modest little poppy' (Colette, ‘Fleurs et fruits’, in Comoedia, 1942).

Odilon Redon's flowers are fascinating in that they occupy the space between reality and dream: ‘Flowers, lying at the confluence of two streams, that of representation and that of memory’, he wrote in his diary, A soi-même. Odilon Redon was deeply influenced by his friendship with botanist Armand Clavaud, who initiated him into science and literature, introducing him to Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal, as well as pantheism and Oriental philosophy.

In Fleurs dans une coupe bleue, flowers merge into an incandescence of variegated colours. The floral composition, which is at once dense and light, is subtly balanced by the harmony of colour. The blue light reflected by the vase is repeated, more intensely, in the bouquet. Odilon Redon plays on the effects of matter just as he plays on form, the essential aspect of art being, for him, ‘to always remain equivocal, with double, or triple aspects, hints of aspect, forms yet to be, or which shall be according to the spectator's frame of mind’.

The magic of Redon's art is to suggest, rather than express, ‘what is absent from any bunch of flowers’ in the words of his friend Stéphane Mallarmé. The painter removes any form of support and places his vase in an indefinable space, cut off from reality, and yet he introduced butterflies, like an incursion of nature into his still life.

The critic Albert Flament, admiring the works of Odilon Redon at the Salon d'Automne in 1905, wrote: ‘M. Odilon Redon is a painter of flowers as they are seen in dreams. They do not flourish under the rays of the sun. Their middays are moonlight, they come from our nightmares... from oriental legends’ (quoted by M.-A. Stevens in "Redon's artistic and critical position", in Odilon Redon, 1840-1916, exh. cat., Chicago, 1994, pp. 296-297).

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