Two sketchy, colourless figures are sitting inside a black boat with a grey sail. Around them, however, the colours explode. You can just guess a smooth, reflecting water surface and a low horizon – beyond that the colours have no connection to real observation. The strongest, brightest pastels mix in the sky like an explosion.
For a long time, Odilon Redon only worked in black and white, using charcoal and lithography. His images of this period are depressing, even disturbing, like the stuff of nightmares.
Then something changed in the 1890s and 1900s. He left his nightmares behind and turned towards pastels and discovered the marvelous range of colours. His drawings remain dream-like, but the dreams are more hopeful now.
His colourful pastels and his artistic journey gives us hope. They show that dark times do not last forever and can eventually change into a luminous future.
Artwork: Odilon Redon, ca. 1903, Flower Clouds. Pastel on paper. More about the painting