Odilon Redon (Bordeaux 1840 - Paris 1916)

La Barque Sold

Signed ODILON REDON at the lower right.
153 x 240 mm. (6 x 9 3/8 in.)


Redon treated the theme of boats on a calm sea in several pastels and watercolours. The sea was of great importance for Redon, and boats seem to have had a particularly peaceful, almost comforting association for the artist. As he wrote, ‘Beautiful, peaceful ships, gently lifted by the eternal wave, you float in a friendly harbor. Your long leaning masts and their thin ropes strike the depth of the foggy sky and the breath of the air and the rhythm of the waves cradle the spirit like a gentle harmony…Beautiful, gentle ships; so dear to the sailor, what do you carry in the depth of your skiff? From the bosom of the Ocean, to the immortal source, fishing, treasure, the catch was so great. And the breath of the air, and the rhythm of the waves cradle the spirit like a gentle harmony. Oh sea, oh great friend!’ However, Redon seems also at times to have regarded a sea voyage as a metaphor for a passage through the dangerous realm of the unconscious.

The first recorded owner of this drawing was the sculpture dealer and foundeur Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard (1865-1937), who established a bronze foundry that cast sculptures by Edgar Degas, Rembrandt Bugatti, Jules Dalou and others.

Probably the artist’s studio, Paris, and by descent to his widow, Camille
Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard, Paris
By descent to a private collection, Paris
Anonymous sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot [Aguttes], 25 June 2007, lot 234.

Alec Wildenstein, Odilon Redon: Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint et dessiné. Vol.III: Fleurs et paysages, Paris, 1996, p.340, no.1934 (‘La barque à la figure de proue. Une silhouette de femme, lémure, vouivre ou sirène, à la proue du canot qui emporte dans sa course la Camarde dont le funeste visage est ébauché sur la voile.’).

Odilon REDON

La Barque


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