Galerie Marcel Bernheim & Cie, Paris Galerie Zak, Paris Acquired from the above on April 15, 1965
Alec Wildenstein, Odilon Redon, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné. Portraits et figures, vol. I, Paris, 1992, no. 274, illustrated p. 116
As long understood by the monarchs who would order their likenesses imprinted on coins and postage stamps, a head viewed in profile is elevated to an archetype that occupies the realm of the extraordinary. As the leading figure of the Symbolist movement, Redon made regular use of this motif: “Without clearly determinable gender, yet tending toward the female, with regular but hard features framed by a veil or hair and a collar, slightly inclined and with eyes either closed or gazing downward, it resists identification but conveys at the same time the impression of a superior spiritual being that is sufficient unto itself and may even feel sympathy for normal humanity” (D. Gamboni in As in a Dream, Odilon Redon (exhibition catalogue), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2007, pp. 126-27). In Contemplation, the soft lines and washed pigments that describe Redon's figures serve to emphasize this very ethereal, transporting quality.
This work is in excellent condition. Executed on cream wove paper affixed to a mount at all four corners. Half-centimeter repaired tear near bottom left corner, otherwise fine. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.