Odilon Redon

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Redon, Odilon

(ôdēlôN` rədôN`), 1840–1916, French painter and lithographer. He studied in Paris under Gérôme. Later his friend Fantin-Latour taught him lithography, but he was most influenced by Rodolphe Bresdin, an older artist who had created a world of fantastic imagery. Redon's first volume of lithographs, Dans le rêve, appeared in 1879. After 1889 he devoted himself to oil painting and especially pastels. Symbolically conceived, his work is related to that of writers such as Poe, Baudelaire, and Mallarmé. An artist of lyrical and mystical vision, he created translucent flower pieces and often depicted literary subjects. Redon stands as a precursor to surrealism, with his mysterious evocations of a dreamworld. Characteristic of his paintings are Les Yeux clos (Louvre) and Le Silence (Mus. of Modern Art, New York City). Fine examples of his graphic work can be found at the Art Institute, Chicago, and at the Bibliothèque nationale, Paris.


See his journal, À Soi-Même (1922); Graphic Works (tr. 1913, repr. 1969); studies by K. Berger (1965), J. Selz (1971), and S. F. Eisenman (1992).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Redon, Odilon


Born Apr. 20, 1840, in Bordeaux; died July 6, 1916, in Paris. French graphic artist and painter.

In 1861, Redon entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts, where he was a student of J. L. Gérôme. He was associated with the writers of the symbolist school and with the artists known as the nabis. On the basis of natural forms, Redon created a world of fantastic creatures. By introducing realistic details into this world, he combined dream and reality and thereby made a pathological and mystic statement. Representative works by Redon include the following series of lithographs: In the World of the Daydream (1879), To Edgar Allan Poe (1882), Night (1886), and The Apocalypse of St. John (1889). Redon also painted delicate and decorative still lifes.


Berger, K. Odilon Redon: Phantasie und Farbe. Cologne, 1964.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.