Eugène Rehns, Paris Private Collection, Paris Galerie Cazeau-Béraudière, Paris Acquired from the above on June 29, 2004
Alec Wildenstein, Odilon Redon, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné, vol. IV, Paris,1998, no. 2595, illustrated p. 256 & in color p. 257
The early 1890s sees the reintroduction of color into Redon’s work, a period when spirituality also took on greater importance for him. “If Redon now often turned to mythology or the Bible for subjects, he did so mostly to provide his compositions with some plausible theme rather than to illustrate any specific episodes of Olympian sagas or of the Scriptures” (John Rewald, “Odilon Redon,” in Odilon Redon, Gustave Moreau, RodolpheBresdin (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1961, p. 39). Since much of Western religious art is traditionally rooted in scripture, Redon is unusual in this respect. The present work draws on the theme of discipleship and the divine nature of Christ rather than a specific episode of the New Testament. Though he was not an orthodox Christian, Redon mixed in Catholic circles and was clearly attracted to the figure of Christ who features frequently at this time.
Redon was a friend of Édouard Schuré, the author of Les grands initiés, an influential syncretistic text published in 1889 which became popular among several French artists, including the Nabis painters Paul Sérusier and Paul Ranson. As Barbara Larson writes: “Schuré believed that great religious leaders and philosophers, including Christ and Rama, were ‘initiates’ or seers who had perceived universal truths” (Barbara Larson, “From Botany to Belief: Odilon Redon and Armand Clavaud,” in As in a Dream, Odilon Redon (exhibition catalogue), Frankfurt, 2007, p. 97).
The work is in very good condition. The canvas is not lined. The canvas is slightly undulating. There are extremely fine lines of craquelure throughout. There is a small 1/2 inch horizontal loss to the upper left corner. The surface is richly textured and the colors present well. Under Uv light, some original pigments fluoresce but no inpainting is apparent. 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.