Today is the birthday of French Symbolist artist Odilon Redon (b. France 1840 – 1916). Redon (real name Bertrand-Jean) was also a printmaker, draughtsman and worked in pastels. Born to an affluent family Redon acquired the nickname Odilon from his mother Odile.
He studied drawing at 15 but changed his path to architecture because his father approved this. This was to prove a mistake because Redon didn’t pass his entrance exam to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, though he was to study painting there for a short time.
Redon then took up sculpture and the etching and printmaking but had to put his artistic career on hold whilst he joined the Franco-Prussian army in the 1870 war. When he came back to Paris after the war, he began to work with lithography and in charcoal (he was to call these his noirs).
Recognition came in 1878 with Guardian Spirit of the Waters. After 1900 Redon produced no more noirs, preferring to work in pastels and oils. The legion of Honour was awarded the artist in 1903, exhibited with the Nabis at Durand-Ruel’s and in 1913 he was given the largest single representation in New Yorks Armory Show as well as having a catalogue and etching produced by Andre Mellerio.
Redon’s work is both mysterious and revealing, exploring his inner feelings and his psyche. This is what the artist says about his inner inspiration behind his work in his journal A Soi-même (To Myself);-
“I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.”
Images from here
PLUS Don’t forget there’s another poetry challenge over on my Bookstains Just click Julie Andrews (she’ll thank you for it 😀 ) This particular challenge is a real wacky fun one and is a departure from my usual art based one!