Odilon Redon

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Odilon Redon
1840-1916
Bottom Gazing at His Reflection
1881
Charcoal on green-blue paper
18 3/8 x 13 5/8 inches (467 x 346 mm)
Thaw Collection.
2017.203
Inscription: 

Signed in pen and black ink at lower left, "ODILON REDON".

Provenance: 
Ambroise Vollard, Paris; Edouard Jonas, Paris; his widow, Mme Jonas, Paris; Walter Goetz, Paris; Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.
Bibliography: 

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 312, repr.
Stampfle, Felice, and Cara D. Denison. Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene V. Thaw. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1975, no. 102.
Régis, Michel. La peinture comme crime ou la part maudite de la modernité. Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2001, pp. 172 and 362, no. 117, repr.

Notes: 

In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck turns the comic fool Bottom's head into that of an ass, although Bottom himself remains unaware of the metamorphosis. In a sensitive meditation on the subject, Redon depicts Bottom on a riverbank looking at his reflection in the water's surface, amazed to find that he bears the head of a donkey. This reversal of the character's obliviousness to his appearance suggests a poignant inner awakening. -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"

Associated names: 

Vollard, Ambroise, 1867-1939, former owner.
Jonas, Edouard, former owner.
Jonas, Mme, former owner.
Goetz, Walter, 1867-1958, former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.

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