367
367
Odilon Redon
LA ROUE DE LA FORTUNE
Estimate
120,000180,000
JUMP TO LOT
367
Odilon Redon
LA ROUE DE LA FORTUNE
Estimate
120,000180,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York

Odilon Redon
1840 - 1916
LA ROUE DE LA FORTUNE
Signed Odilon Redon (lower left)
Oil on panel
15 1/8 by 5 3/8 in.
38.5 by 13.5 cm
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Provenance

Marquis de Gonet, Paris (acquired directly from the artist circa 1908-09)
Private Collection, France (by descent from the above and sold: Christie's, New York, November 11, 1997, lot 137)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

Literature

Alec Wildenstein, Odilon Redon, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné, vol. IV, Paris, 1998, no. 2606, illustrated p. 263

Catalogue Note

In the early 1890s, Redon received an increasing amount of attention from collectors and critics, leading to his first one-man show in 1894 at the Galeries Durand-Ruel in Paris. In 1892, the critic Albert Aurier, who first made the argument for the relationship between certain artists and the literary school of Symbolism, wrote of Redon: “We should not forget another artist no less original, idealistic, strange, and terrible—one whose love of dreams and spirituality and lofty contempt for soulless imitation have influenced the budding artists of our day as effectively, though less directly, than those already mentioned. I refer to Odilon Redon” (quoted in Mary Anne Stevens, "The Transformation of the Symbolist Aesthetic" in Odilon Redon, Prince of Dreams, 1840-1916, Chicago, 1995, p. 199). Aurier’s definition of Symbolist art was formulated in opposition to the school of Realism that had previously dominated art criticism, and instead it defined the goal of painting as the communication of an idea rather than a depiction of the world.

Mary Anne Stevens writes, “Underlying the central thesis of Symbolism was the dethroning of external nature as the subject matter of art, and its replacement by the Idea. However, given that the Idea derived from the conceptual rather than from the physical world, it was by definition abstract. The issue for all Symbolists lay in the manner in which the Idea was to be visually actualized” (ibid., p. 206). How, in other words, could "the Idea" be represented without succumbing to the effects of Realism? Thadée Nathanso theorized that Redon achieved the depiction of "the Idea" through a representation of dreams: “The imprecision to which the dream owes its surest charm, how can this be captured within the necessary limits of expression in the visual arts? On the condition, realized [in Redon’s art] that, however far the dream might carry the artist…it will always identify itself through its unique qualities—colors or lines and their combination—in order to make sense” (quoted in ibid., p. 208). It is Redon’s specific handling of the media of pastel and oil, in other words, which allows the artist to follow the path of the dream and capture its essence.

Nathanson’s description of Redon is especially appropriate for the present work, part of a series the artist executed on the theme of a figure facing the viewer with shielded eyes. In the case of La Roue de la fortune, the increasingly abstract forms disseminating away from the figure alludes to Redon’s approach to Symbolism: as the mind relaxes into dreams, an organic energy emerges, producing a vibrant flower of ideas, a process Redon illustrates across the dazzling, highly textured surface.

The reverse of the panel, a tea-box lid, bearing the Chinese characters "Good of the Tea"

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

|
New York