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Flower Clouds

Pastel drawing of two figures in a sailboat, bright multi-colored clouds.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Pastel drawing of two figures in a sailboat, bright multi-colored clouds.


c. 1903


Odilon Redon
French, 1840-1916

About this artwork

The evocative, symbolic art of Odilon Redon drew its inspiration from the internal world of his imagination. For years this student of Rodolphe Bresdin worked only in black and white, producing powerful and haunting charcoal drawings, lithographs, and etchings. Just as these black works, or Noirs, began to receive critical and public acclaim in the 1890s, Redon discovered the marvels of color through the use of pastel. His immersion in color and this new technique brought about a change in the artist’s approach to his subject matter as well. Flower Clouds is one of a number of pastels executed around 1905 that are dominated by spiritual overtones. Here a sailboat bears two figures, perhaps two saintly women, on a timeless journey through a fantastic, phosphorescent sea and sky. The dreamlike skiff may reflect Redon’s internal voyage, replacing the nocturnal turmoil of the earlier Noirs with a more hopeful vision. The luminous intensity of the pastels echoes the ardent spirituality of the theme.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Odilon Redon


Flower Clouds


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Pastel, with touches of stumping, incising, and brushwork, on blue-gray wove paper with multi-colored fibers altered to tan, perimeter mounted to cardboard


Signed lower left, in black conté crayon: "ODILON REDON"


44.5 × 54.2 cm (17 9/16 × 21 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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