Odilon Redon Biography | Oil Paintings
4-20-1840 Bordeaux, FRA – 7-6-1916 Paris, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Odilon Redon was born Bertrand-Jean Redon to a prosperous family. When he was a young boy, his mother, Odile gave him the nickname "Odilon". Redon started drawing as a child and, at the age of ten, he was awarded a drawing prize at school. He began to formally study drawing at fifteen, but, his father insisted he change to architecture and sent him to Paris, but he failed to pass the entrance exams the École des Beaux-Arts, never to become an architect, (his younger brother Gaston Redon would become a noted architect). He did manage to briefly study painting at the Ecole with Jean-Léon Gérôme in 1864.
Back in his hometown, Bordeaux, Odilon Redon took up sculpting, and Rodolphe Bresdin instructed him in etching and lithography. His budding artistic career was short lived when in 1870 he was drafted into the army to serve in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
Odilon Redon a Synthesis of Nightmares and Dreams.
At the end of the war in 1871, Odilon Redon moved to Paris and resumed his art, working almost exclusively in charcoal and lithography. He called his visionary works, his noirs, drawn in shades of black. Not until 1878 that his work gained any recognition with his drawing Guardian Spirit of the Waters, the following year he published his first album of lithographs, titled Dans le Rêve, (in the dream). Still, Redon remained relatively unknown until in 1884 a novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans titled À Rebours (Against Nature) featuring a decadent aristocrat who collected Redon's drawings.
Odilon Redon had a fascination in Hindu and Buddhist religion and culture and the figure of the Buddha progressively appeared in his work. Influences of Japan blended into his art, such as the painting The Death of the Buddha in 1899, Jacob Wrestling With The Angel, and Vase with Japanese Warrior in 1905 and The Buddha in 1906.
Baron Robert de Domecy commissioned Odilon Redon in 1899 to create 17 decorative panels for the dining room of the Château de Domecy-sur-le-Vault in Burgundy. Redon had created large decorative works for private residences in the past, but his compositions for the Chateau de Domecy were his most radical compositions to that point and mark the transition from ornamental to abstract painting.
Odilon Redon was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1903. His popularity grew when a catalog of etchings and lithographs was published by André Mellerio in 1913, also that same year, at the famous New York Armory Show, he was given the largest single representation and his feature drawing was Le Silence.
Art Movement: Post-impressionism, Surrealism, Symbolism.
Artists Influencing Odilon Redon: Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.