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Gallery Text

Taken from the New Testament (John 11:1–44), the biblical story of the raising of Lazarus is meant to offer a joyful message of resurrection, as Jesus miraculously brings a man back to life. Redon instead offers a grim depiction, with a bewildered Lazarus half emerging from his tomb into a world of shadows—into the margin between death and life. Redon executed this drawing in charcoal, a tonal medium that suited his taste for the austere properties of black, of which he wrote: “Nothing prostitutes it. It neither pleases the eye nor awakens the senses. Far more than the beautiful colors of the palette or the prism, it is the agent of the spirit.” It was this quality that attracted Redon to the work of Seurat, whose drawings in black crayon he collected.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1955.132
People
Odilon Redon, French (Bordeaux, France 1840 - 1916 Paris, France)
Title
The Raising of Lazarus
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
19th-20th century
Culture
French
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Charcoal and white gouache on blue wove paper, faded to green
Dimensions
25.8 x 37.5 cm (10 3/16 x 14 3/4 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Meta and Paul J. Sachs
Accession Year
1955
Object Number
1955.132
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

John Rewald, "Odilon Redon et Emile Bernard", Gazette des Beaux-Arts (November 1956), XLIX, fig. 5

Visionaries and Dreamers, exh. cat., Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C, 1956), p. 10, cat. no. 69

Agnes Mongan, Memorial Exhibition: Works of Art from the Collection of Paul J. Sachs [1878-1965] : given and bequeathed to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, exh. cat., Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1965), p. 210

Klaus Berger, Odilon Redon: Fantasy and Colour, McGraw-Hill Book Company (New York, Toronto, London, 1965), pp. 54-55 + 61 +228, cat. no. 228, repr. p. 61

Elizabeth Holt, ed., From the classicists to the impressionists; a documentary history of art and architecture in the 19th century, Anchor Books (Garden City, NY, 1966), no. 58, repr.

Nicholas Wadley, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Drawing, Dutton Studio Books, New York (New York, NY, 1991), p. 240

Alec Wildenstein, Odilon Redon: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint et dessiné, Wildenstein Institute (Paris, 1992-1998), vol. 2, p. 215, no. 1164, repr.

Douglas Druick, Odilon Redon: Prince of Dreams, 1840-1916, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, 1994), p. 451, cat. no. 50.

Alain Marchadour, Lazare, Bayard (Paris, 2004), pl. IV (color)

Carey Dunne, Flowers of Evil and the Macabre Literary Imagination of Symbolism, Hyperalleric (July 4, 2016), [e-journal], http://hyperallergic.com/305877/flowers-of-evil-and-the-macabre-literary-imagination-of-symbolism/, accessed January 9, 2017

Franklin Einspruch, Fuse Visual Art Review: A Pair of Drawing Shows at the Harvard Art Museums, The Arts Fuse ([e-journal], June 9, 2016), http://artsfuse.org/146319/fuse-visual-arts-review-a-pair-of-drawing-shows-at-the-harvard-art-museums/, accessed June 9, 2016

Exhibition History

Flowers of Evil: Symbolist Drawings, 1870–1910, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu