Odilon Redon France
4-20-1840 Bordeaux, FRA – 7-6-1916 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Odilon Redon was born in Bordeaux, to a prosperous family. The young Bertrand-Jean Redon acquired the nickname "Odilon" from his mother, Odile. Redon started drawing as a child and, at the age of ten, he was awarded a drawing prize at school. He began the formal study of drawing at fifteen; but, at his father's insistence, he changed to architecture. Failure to pass the entrance exams at Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts ended any plans for a career as an architect, although he briefly studied painting there under Jean-Léon Gérôme in 1864.
Back in his native Bordeaux, Odilon Redon took up sculpting, and Rodolphe Bresdin instructed him in etching and lithography. His artistic career was interrupted in 1870 when he joined the army to serve in the Franco-Prussian War.
At the end of the war, Odilon Redon moved to Paris and resumed working almost exclusively in charcoal and lithography. He called his visionary works, conceived in shades of black, his noirs. It was not until 1878 that his work gained any recognition with Guardian Spirit of the Waters; he published his first album of lithographs, titled Dans le Rêve, in 1879.
Odilon Redon had a keen interest in Hindu and Buddhist religion and culture. The figure of the Buddha increasingly showed in his work. Influences of Japan blended into his art, such as the painting The Death of the Buddha around 1899, The Buddha in 1906, Jacob and the Angel in 1905, and Vase with Japanese warrior in 1905, amongst many others.
Baron Robert de Domecy (1867–1946) commissioned Odilon Redon in 1899 to create 17 decorative panels for the dining room of the Château de Domecy-sur-le-Vault near Sermizelles in Burgundy. Redon had created large decorative works for private residences in the past, but his compositions for the chateau de Domecy in 1900–1901 were his most radical compositions to that point and mark the transition from ornamental to abstract painting.
In 1903 Odilon Redon was awarded the Legion of Honor. His popularity increased when a catalog of etchings and lithographs was published by André Mellerio in 1913; that same year, he was given the largest single representation at the New York Armory Show.
Art Movement: Post-impressionism, Symbolism
Influences: Jean-Léon Gérôme