Lot 358
  • 358

Odilon Redon

400,000 - 600,000 USD
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  • Odilon Redon
  • √Čvocation (Femme √† la montagne)
  • Signed Odilon Redon (lower right)
  • Pastel on paper mounted on card
  • 31 1/2 by 23 5/8 in.
  • 80 by 60 cm


Gabriel Frizeau, Bordeaux (acquired between 1916 & 1920)
Georges Bénard, Paris (and sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 9, 1933, lot 4)
Lévy Collection
Private Collection, Germany
Wildenstein & Co., New York
Acquired from the above in 1960


Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Ausstellung Odilon Redon, 1840-1916, 1919, no. 41
Paris, Hôtel de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts, Première exposition de collectionneurs au profit de la Société des amis du Luxembourg, 1924, no. 64


Claude Roger-Marx, Odilon Redon, Paris, 1925, no. 51, illustrated n.p.
Klaus Berger, Odilon Redon, Phantasie und Farbe, Cologne, 1964, no. 503, n.p.
Jean-François Moueix, Un Amateur d'art éclairé à Bourdeaux: Gabriel Frizeau (1870-1938), vol. I, Bordeaux, 1969, p. 419, illustrated pl. XV
Alex Wildenstein, Odilon Redon, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné, vol. I, Paris, 1992, no. 679, illustrated p. 264


Executed on buff colored wove paper mounted on card and affixed to a wooden stretcher. Edges are reinforced with tape. Some very minor discoloration and rubbing to the extreme perimeter due to frame rubbing. Sheet may be slightly time darkened overall, but colors are very bright and fresh and the pastel is very well preserved. Work is in very good condition.
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.

Catalogue Note

The figure in Évocation (Femme à la Montagne) shares many features with other Yeux Clos images from Redon’s oeuvre (see fig. 1). “The head can also be assigned its place within an entire series of Redon’s figures. 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. Since the appearance in 1886 of Light Profile, a lithograph based on a charcoal drawing entitled The Fairy and executed four years earlier, Redon’s fame was based in part on precisely such figures” (Dario Gamboni in As in a Dream, Odilon Redon (exhibition catalogue), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2007, pp. 126-27).

In the early 1890s, Odilon Redon received an increasing amount of attention from collectors and critics, leading to his first one-man show in 1894 at Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris. It was during this time that color began to take center stage in Redon’s output and, from then on, his pieces in pastels and oils would be more closely associated with his oeuvre than the noirs he built his reputation on in his earlier years. Redon himself celebrated the use of color in his later works, writing to his friend Picard: "I feel the coming of the hour where time doubles its price, the instant where the artist knows himself and no longer goes astray. Master of my means—in a small domain—I experience more than ever the pleasures which work procures. With pastel I have recovered the hope of giving my dreams greater plasticity, if possible. Colors contain a joy which relaxes me; besides, they sway me towards something different and new. Yet I could not speak to you of my projects; one doesn’t know the art of tomorrow." (quoted in John Rewald in Odilon Redon, Gustave Moreau, Rodolphe Bresdin (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York & The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1961-62, p. 39).

Redon proved to be an inspiration for many younger artists including the Nabis, Matisse and Marcel Duchamp. Richard Hobbs discusses the interest in Redon shown by the Nabis: “What the Nabis actually so admired in Redon was not only the technical quality of his works but also his ability to suggest the mysterious and the spiritual. Bonnard later summed this up succinctly: ‘What strikes me most in his work is the coming together of two almost opposite qualities: very pure plastic substance and very mysterious expression. Our whole generation is under his charm and benefits from his advice’” (Richard Hobbs, Odilon Redon, London, 1977, p. 84). After his revolutionary showing of Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 at the 1913 Armory Show (where 38 of Redon’s works were also exhibited), Marcel Duchamp was asked whether his art or that of his contemporaries was derived from the legacy of Cézanne. He replied, "I am sure that most of my friends would say so and I know that he [Cézanne] is a great man. Nevertheless, if I am to tell what my own point of departure has been, I should say that it was the art of Odilon Redon” (quoted in John Rewald, ibid, p. 44).