Art History

Art Reflections

Odilon Redon: Sharing Dreams with the World

Odilon RedonApril 22nd is the birthday of French painter Bertrand Jean Redon, or better know as, Odilon Redon. Born in 1840, he is considered one of the great symbolist artists of his time. He loved art as a child and drew often. He won a drawing prize at his school at the age of ten. Despit his talents, his father insisted he study architecture. After failing to pass the required exams, Redon pursued art in various forms. He fought in the Franco-Prussian war and when the war ended, moved to Paris. In the early 20th century, Redon was awarded the largest single representation at the U.S. International Exhibition of Modern Art. He passed away in 1916 at the age of 76.

Redon’s work is most often described as having a dreamlike quality. Early in his career, he worked primarily with charcoals and lithographs, calling them noirs, but then moved into pastels which he would become known for. Nature was one of his biggest sources of inspiration, although not in a literal sense. Redon wanted to express the state of his soul. Japanese and Buddhist influences can also be seen in his works as Redon delves into the teachings of the east. Using bright, velvety colors, his works pop. Creating the illusion as though figures could leap off the canvas. Later in his career, he would start to push boundaries, becoming a pre-Surrealist with his colors and subjects. In his lifetime; however, he often described his work as being undefinable.

Shop the Inspiration

Redon covered a variety of subjects in many mediums but maintained the same surreal style throughout his work. Pieces like Butterflies and Flowers show his appreciation for nature. Icarus and Pantheon both reflect a mythological theme inspiring the viewer to want to read about the characters. Flowers in a Turquoise Vase is a unique take on a still life piece. Even The Woman in Red presents an unexpected visual interpretation of something ordinary with an added piece of mystery.

Odilon Redon was a master in his movement and even today his painting can be appreciated by many. Feel free to browse the full gallery and find just the right piece for your space.

About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.