Redon's art had changed radically since the early 1890s. He had abandoned lithography and the charcoal of his famous Noirs in order to draw in pastel and to paint with vivid colours.
It was during Redon's second stay at the abbey, at Easter in 1910, that he reached an agreement with Fayet to decorate the large, square room, almost ten metres by ten. Two huge panels 6.5 metres wide and 2 metres high, divided into three parts, would face each other on the side walls, with a one metre wide panel placed above the door.
With their contrasting themes and subjects, the two panels can be seen as a synthesis of Redon's art. The dazzling yellow of Day, and the exuberance of the flowers at the sides, are characteristic of Redon's second period, when colour became his passion.
It is surprising that the Leblonds should have selected Redon as their favourite artist, when their artistic and political inclinations would normally have led them towards a solid naturalism, which, in their view, was the strongest indicator of nationhood. And furthermore, two years after the essay in the Revue illustrée, their book on art criticism, Peintres de race made no mention of Redon, praising the temperament and style of Max Lieberman for Germany, Léon Frédéric for Wallonia, Nicolas Tarkhov for Russia, and Charles Lacoste for France..., with a few spiritual and symbolist detours: Gauguin for the West Indies and Van Gogh for Holland. But what country could Redon represent in their eyes, when he invented new lands with every work?
Once again, in order to express these views, the Leblonds had to abandon their strict ideas and accept the "exotic" and "primitive" side of Redon. He explains this apparently unnatural union in a letter to Gabriel Frizeau dated 31 March 1907: "Their Creole upbringing helped them". In fact, while the Leblonds grew up on the island of Réunion, Redon, himself, was born to a father from Bordeaux who left to seek his fortune in Louisiana, and a Creole mother with French ancestry from New Orleans. He was born in France but had been conceived in America, a journey in utero that profoundly affected his imagination. Camille, whom he married in 1880, was also a Creole from Réunion. These are the "elsewheres" they all shared and that certainly enabled Marius and Ary to understand the vital source that Redon claimed to represent, the paradise that he sought and the rebirth that he demanded.
The relationship that united Redon and the Leblonds was totally sincere and enduring. The painter fully recognised himself in the article and did not fail to express his gratitude, as seen in this letter to Frizeau: "You asked my opinion on the article by the Leblonds. It is well written, almost mystical, Hindu, with an extraordinary richness of meaning. […] As I read it I sensed the joy of being alive. For that is the reward for the effort of having changed and being happy with the change. I will now be able to produce something again, with love and with the clearest image of myself. And these bright young things will help me get there".
The Leblonds regularly published articles on the artist in the periodicals that they published until the mid 20th century. They frequently visited him at his villa in Bièvres, and after his death kept in contact with Camille and Arï, Redon's son. They were also responsible in 1923 for the publication of some of Redon's letters and for the catalogue for the retrospective at the Petit Palais in 1934. And above all, having put their name to "The Marvellous in Painting", they would always be the main witnesses to Redon's explosions of colour, the ones who affirmed the painter's passionate relationship between nature and art.
I have made an art according to myself. I have done it with eyes open to the marvels of the visible world and whatever anyone says, always careful to obey the laws of nature and life.
Caliban, charcoal, before 1890
Closed Eyes, oil on cardboard, 1890
The Road to Peyrelebade, oil on paper, undated
Portrait of Arï Redon with Sailor Collar, oil on cardboard, circa 1897
The Sleep of Caliban, oil on wood, between 1895 and 1900
Baroness Robert de Domecy, oil on canvas, 1900
Parsifal, pastel, 1912