Head of a Woman
Odilon Redon ( French, 1840 - 1916 )
Closed eyes and a sheer veil convey a sense of privacy in this pastel of a woman facing arrays of burnt orange and yellow flowers. Using the soft texture of pastel chalk, Odilon Redon blends vibrant hues to intertwine the figure with her surroundings. Her bold skin tone matches the floral tones, which also appear in the pattern of her dress. The resulting ambiguous space may be a projected representation of the figure’s imagination. Musing beauties are a constant motif in Redon’s late body of work.
This pastel was exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show which was sponsored by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. The Armory Show introduced American artists to revolutionary theories in European Art like the mysterious yet evocative psychological undertones of Symbolism.
Heather MacDonald, DMA Label copy, 2010.