Odilon Redon

Oil Paintings by Odilon Redon

Born in France in 1840, Odilon Redon was a painter and graphic artist, one of the outstanding figures of Symbolism. He had a retiring life, first in his native Bordeaux, then from 1870 in Paris. Until he was in his fifties Redon worked almost exclusively in black and white, producing charcoal drawings and lithographs. Influenced by the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, Redon developed a highly distinctive repertoire of weird subjects such as strange amoeboid creatures, insects, and plants with human heads.

Odilon Redon remained virtually unknown to the public until the publication of J.K. Huysmans’s celebrated novel “A Rebours” in 1884. The book’s hero, a disenchanted aristocrat who lives in a private world of perverse delights, collects Redon’s drawings. With the mention of Redon’s name  in this classic expression of decadence, Redon too became associated with the French Decadent Movement which was flourishing in France and starting to spread throughout Europe.

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