Odilon Redon - Figure en rouge assise sur un rocher - image-1

Lot 40 Dα

Odilon Redon - Figure en rouge assise sur un rocher

Auction 1200 - overview Cologne
01.06.2022, 18:00 - Evening Sale - Modern and Contemporary Art
Estimate: 60.000 € - 80.000 €
Result: 75.600 € (incl. premium)

Odilon Redon

Figure en rouge assise sur un rocher

Oil on card. 27 x 22.2 cm Signed 'ODILON REDON' upper right in red. - Superficially pofessionally cleaned. A few small retouchings mostly in margin area.

Although he was a contemporary of the great French Impressionists, Odilon Redon pursued his own thematically as well as stylistically independent path from the very beginning. He is seen as an important representative of French Symbolism, although his work already anticipates elements of Fauvism, Surrealism and abstraction.
His oeuvre is profoundly personal in nature and can, to a certain extent, be read as depicting the circumstances of his private life. Redon did not compose his motifs deliberately or according to a plan. Instead, he converted his dream images directly into drawings and paintings: in 1898 he wrote to his future biographer, the art critic André Mellerio, that “it all takes place through a compliant submission to the influence of the unconscious”. The literature of avant-garde writers like Charles Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe formed an important point of departure for his work. His personal misfortunes and war-time experiences also left their mark on his art. His early work produced a bestiary of fantastical creatures – chimeric beings joining together the human, fauna and flora in cave-like surroundings. He additionally created studies of nature and mystical images of figures in natural settings. From around 1890, colour and light found their way into a palette previously dominated by black: portraits and floral motifs now became combined with abstract elements in lyrical, enormously colourful pastels and oil paintings.
We are able to offer a rare and particularly striking example of his painted work at this auction. It directly embodies the transition from the sombreness of his earlier years to the radiant visual worlds of his late work. An androgynous figure wrapped in a red cloak is absorbed in contemplation or sorrow within a barren, rocky scene; the figure remains in sepia-coloured darkness while the unfurling of the evening sun’s glowing, golden orange suggests an aureole behind it. The painting belongs to a group of works featuring solitary figures placed in natural settings: as is usually the case in Redon’s work, they elude any conventional iconographic interpretation. The series was inspired by two journeys that Redon made to the Pyrenees in 1861 and 1878. Deeply impressed, he wrote in 1878: “Le sol basque est pour moi comme une patrie ancienne où, certainement, j’ai vécu, souffert et aimé” (cited in: Alec Wildenstein, Odilon Redon. Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint et dessiné, vol. 1, Paris 1992, p. 225). His intense experience of the parched and rocky landscape, the sun’s dominance over everything and the local inhabitants’ character defined by passion and melancholy finds expression in this work.

Catalogue Raisonné

Not recorded by Wildenstein


Expert report from the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, New York, from 1 November 2021. The work will be included in the forthcoming Redon Digital Catalogue Raisonné.


Private property, Hesse