I’ve mentioned the work of the French artist Odilon Redon before, and that I particularly admire his darkly atmospheric works in charcoal from the late 1870s and early 1880s. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. T_____, I was reunited last week with three boxfuls of books that I’d left behind in storage in England in 2000, at which time I never suspected that the six-month contract I had secured in Sweden would turn into a five-year sojourn. One of these books is a monograph on Redon published to coincide with an exhibition I had visited at the Royal Academy in London, 1995. I’ve scanned a half dozen images from this book:
The first and fifth of these images were two of thirteen drawings that were exhibited at the galleries of the weekly review La Vie Moderne in Paris in 1881: which was effectively Redon’s first solo exhibition. A second, larger exhibition followed in 1882, again courtesy of the press: it was staged at the telegraph office of the daily newspaper Le Gaulois. The two images directly below were among the twenty-one works on display there.
Das Esseintes found himself more particularly drawn to the other works which decorated the room. Those were the pictures bearing the signature: Odilon Redon. They held, between their gold-edged frames of unpolished pearwood, undreamed-of images: a Merovingian-type head, resting upon a cup; a bearded man, reminiscent both of a Buddhist priest and a public orator, touching an enormous cannon-ball with his finger; a dreadful spider with a human face lodged in the centre of its body. Then there were charcoal sketches which delved even deeper into the terrors of fever-ridden dreams… Huysmans, A Rebours (‘Against Nature’), Margaret Mauldon’s translation.
All of the images here are more-or-less cropped & reduced versions of the ones I scanned from the book: click on them to see them larger, and in fullPosted by misteraitch at September 17, 2005 10:14 AM