Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon, Yeux Clos, lithograph

Yeux Clos

[Closed Eyes]

Mellerio 107

lithograph, 1890, the only known state (?)*, from the first edition of 50, with letters (the title, YEUX CLOS, lower left, and the print run "à cinquante exemplaires" just beneath the lower right borderline)**, as published by Bequet, on chine appliqué (over medium-heavy wove) paper, a fine and subtle impression, printed in a silver-gray ink, with margins, some slight localized soiling and foxing, otherwise in very good condition

L. 312 x 242 mm., S. 380 x 310 mm.

Provenance: a private Swiss collection

In speaking of the picture of Yeux Clos (Musée d'Orsay, W469) that was painted the same year (though probably after the lithograph), Roseline Bacou (Odilon Redon, Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, October 1956-January 1957, p. 68) has related this pose to Redon's enthusiastic impression of Michelangelo's Dying Slave in the Louvre:  in May 1888, Redon wrote of this sculpture in his diary (A Soi-Même: Journal, Paris, José Corti, 1979, p. 95): 

Sous les yeux clos de son esclave, que d'action cérébrale élevée!  Il dort, et le songe soucieux qui passe sous ce front de marbre, met le nôtre dans un monde émouvant et pensant...

[Beneath the closed eyes of his slave, what elevated cerebral activity! He sleeps, and the troubled dream crossing this marble brow puts ours in a world of emotion and thought.]

This is in any case one of Redon's most powerful lithograph, and certainly his most moving...

*  There is some question as to the relationship of this print with another version of Yeux Clos, often referred to as M. 107 bis; see the discussion in Ted Gott, The Enchanted Stone: The Graphic Worlds of Odilon Redon, 1990, pp. 86-87.

Given its critical and popular success, there was also a second edition, with different letters.