Frontispiece for La Tentation de Saint-Antoine
(The Temptation of Saint Anthony)1896
Plate 1 of 24
Lithograph printed in orange on cream Japan paper.
The Temptation of Saint Anthony (3rd Series) Text by Gustave Flaubert 24 drawings on stone, edition of 50, 1896
Signed in crayon, Odilon Redon.
This 1896 album was the third and last of Redon's series on Flaubert's novel, La Tentation de Saint-Antoine. It comprises more plates than both the previous Tentation albums combined, making it by far the largest series of lithographs Redon ever produced. This was also Redon's most stylistically and technically varied album, revealing nearly 20 years of engagement with the medium of lithography.
Redon originally planned to produce a full colour lithograph frontispiece for this series, as revealed in a letter written by Redon's wife, Camille, to the Belgian publisher, Edmond Deman:
There will be fifty sets printed of the third Tentation series. Format: 40 x 56 cm. It will comprise 24 plates, one of them in colour. The net price is 100 francs for subscribers, or if bought from us. After subscriptions close, on 30 January 1896, it will be placed on the market at a price of 140 francs, or higher, depending on the number of sets remaining - and without the coloured plate, which will be printed on 30 January in an edition strictly limited to the number of registered subscribers.
However, this idea was abandoned, and instead, Redon added this skull and snake motif to the letter plate and printed it in an orange ink.