Odilon Redon (1840 – 1916)

Free from http://www.odilon-redon.org

Odilon Redon was a French symbolist painter and printmaker.

He took up sculpture, etching and lithography. In the 1890s, he began to use pastel and oils, which dominated his works for the rest of his life.

In 1903 he was awarded the Legion of Honor. In 2005 the Museum of Modern Art launched an exhibition entitled “Beyond The Visible”, a comprehensive overview of Redon’s work showcasing more than 100 paintings, drawings, prints and books.

Redons work has been described as the terrors of fever-ridden dreams.” These drawings defied classification; unheeding, for the most part, of the limitations of painting, they ushered in a very special type of the fantastic, one born of sickness and delirium.”

 Redon himself also describes his work as ambiguous and undefinable:”My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.”

Redon’s work represent an exploration of his internal feelings and psyche. He himself wanted to “place the visible at the service of the invisible”; thus, although his work seems filled with strange beings and grotesque dichotomies, his aim was to represent pictorially the ghosts of his own mind.

I must confess that I had never seen Odilon works before discovering them here, but I am really delighted to see them now online. After reading his biography I was ready to get very chocked , but a lot of the paintings are of colorful beautiful flowers or mythical figures and calmly dreamy, not as feverish as I had expected.

But then the drawings with eyes- I really relate to this. In my own doodling sketchbook , eyes appear everywhere. I am often chocked myself of the crazy stuff that I draw and was hesitating if I should not delete some of the Sketchbookpages from the log before sending in the Assignment. I am not comparing my poor line sketches to his art work, but seeing it gives me the confidence to draw strange 🙂


There is a lot of feeling and dreams in his paintings too, and nightmares maybe in the drawings. He always covers the whole page, no floating objects on a white page here- something I really need to look at. The whole drawing or painting is a play of different tones conveying a dreamy feeling.



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