- Redon, Odilon
died July 6, 1916, ParisFrench painter, lithographer, and etcher.He studied under Jean-Léon Gérome and learned lithography under Henri Fantin-Latour. He came to be associated with the Symbolist painters. His oils and pastels, chiefly still lifes with flowers, won him admiration as a colourist from Henri Matisse and other painters. His prints (nearly 200 in all), which explore fantastic, often macabre themes, foreshadowed Surrealism and Dada.Odilon Redon, self-portrait, 1904; in a private collection.Archives Photographiques, Paris
* * *▪ French painterborn April 20, 1840, Bordeaux, Francedied July 6, 1916, ParisFrench Symbolist (Symbolist movement) painter, lithographer, and etcher of considerable poetic sensitivity and imagination, whose work developed along two divergent lines. His prints explore haunted, fantastic, often macabre themes and foreshadowed the Surrealist (Surrealism) and Dadaist (Dada) movements. His oils and pastels, chiefly still lifes with flowers, won him the admiration of Henri Matisse and other painters as an important colourist.Redon studied under Jean-Léon Gérôme (Gérôme, Jean-Léon); mastered engraving from Rodolphe Bresdin, who exerted an important influence; and learned lithography under Henri Fantin-Latour (Fantin-Latour, Henri). His aesthetic was one of imagination rather than visual perception. His imagination found an intellectual catalyst in his close friend, the Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé (Mallarmé, Stéphane). Redon was also associated with the group of Symbolist painters.Redon produced nearly 200 prints, beginning in 1879 with the lithographs collectively titled In the Dream. He completed another series (1882) dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe (Poe, Edgar Allan), whose poems had been translated into French with great success by Mallarmé and Charles Baudelaire. Rather than illustrating Poe, Redon's lithographs are poems in visual terms, themselves evoking the poet's world of private torment. There is an evident link to Goya (Goya, Francisco de) in Redon's imagery of winged demons and menacing shapes, and one of his series was the Homage to Goya (1885).About the time of the print series The Apocalypse of St. John (1889), Redon began devoting himself to painting and colour drawing—sensitive floral studies, and heads that appear to be dreaming or lost in reverie. He developed a unique palette of powdery and pungent hues. Though there is a relationship between his work and that of the Impressionist painters, he opposed both Impressionism and Realism as wholly perceptual.
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