Exploring the Otherworldly Symbolist Art of Odilon Redon


Odilon Redon Art

Late 19th-century France was an interesting time for avant-garde artists. When the best-recognized figures from this period can be grouped into the Impressionist and Submit-Impressionist artwork actions, there are other creatives from this era who possessed one of a kind and long lasting aesthetics. Just one this sort of human being was the French artist Odilon Redon.

With an desire in depicting imaginary subject matter subject in a semi-practical way, he is frequently affiliated with the Symbolist art movement—the style was prevalent in France at the time. Redon’s keen use of shade, dreamlike options, and abstraction established him aside from a lot of of his contemporaries. And while he is not as broadly known as Monet or Van Gogh, he experienced a long lasting effect on long term artwork actions.

Listed here, we will master additional about Redon and the traits of his dreamlike artwork.


Who Was Odilon Redon?

Photo Portrait of Odilon RedonPhoto Portrait of Odilon Redon

Photograph of Odilon Redon by Man et Mockel, c. 1880 (Image: Wikimedia Commons, Community area)

Odilon Redon (1840–1916) was an influential French artist known for his imaginative art in pastel, lithography, and oil.

Born in Bordeaux, France, to an affluent loved ones, he exhibited an aptitude for drawing at an early age. Redon’s father required him to go after architecture, but following he failed to go the entrance examination to the École des Beaux-Arts, he commenced coaching as an artist. Thanks to the Franco-Prussian war, Redon’s vocation did not blossom until eventually the late 1800s when he began making work in pastel and oils.

Ophelia by Odilon RedonOphelia by Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon, “Ophelia,” 1900–1905 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, General public domain)

Although he was modern to the Impressionists and Submit-Impressionists, he turned down each actions. And while Redon exhibited with the group called Les Nabis in 1899 and shared some popular interests with them, he was not a component of their style possibly. His oeuvre is linked with the Symbolist motion, which is typified by an desire in imbuing art with ambiguous metaphors and themes of romance, morbidity, and the occult.

Butterflies by Odilon RedonButterflies by Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon, “Butterflies,” c. 1910 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, General public area)


Characteristics of Odilon Redon’s Art


Imaginative Subject matter Make a difference

The Cyclops by Odilon RedonThe Cyclops by Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon, “The Cyclops,” c. 1914 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public area)

Maybe most notable of Redon’s artwork is his imaginative issue matter. Rather of drawing inspiration from what he saw, Redon most popular to paint photographs from his goals, nightmares, and tales from mythology. This resulted in drawings and paintings with a tenuous grasp on realism, and a preferred emphasis on emotion, shade, and ambiance.

Redon points out his course of action in his journal: “I have frequently, as an training and as a sustenance, painted just before an object down to the smallest incidents of its visual physical appearance but the day left me unhappy and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I enable the other source run, that of imagination, by the recollection of the kinds and I was then reassured and appeased.”


Vibrant Colour Palette

Odilon Redon ArtOdilon Redon Art

Odilon Redon, “Reflection,” c. 1900–1905 (Image: Wikimedia Commons, Community domain)

Redon utilized a special color palette in his art. The uncommon mix of faded pastel tones and acrid hues led to compositions that were overall pretty vivid to the eye. In addition, his coloration choices had been not usually intended to be naturalistic decisions, and essentially improved the otherworldliness of his uncommon items.



Flowers by Odilon RedonFlowers by Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon, “Flowers,” 1909 (Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public area)

In regards to recurring motifs, bouquets were being amongst his most popular. Not only did he make numerous however lifes of floral arrangements, but he also integrated blooms into his pastel drawings, prints, and paintings as attractive motifs to enrich the impression.



The Buddha PaintingThe Buddha Painting

Odilon Redon, “The Buddha,” c. 1906–1907 (Photograph: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Like quite a few artists of the late 19th century and early 20th century, Redon was deeply impressed by Japanese art in a phenomenon identified as Japonisme. The impact can be observed in the references to Buddhism, as well as some of the all-natural motifs, this kind of as trees, and vegetation that remember the types scene in ukiyo-e, or Japanese woodblock prints.



Portrait of Violette Heymann by Odilon RedonPortrait of Violette Heymann by Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon, “Portrait of Violette Heymann,” 1910 (Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public area)

Though not as widely recognised as some of his contemporaries, Redon was a major determine in art history. In the course of his lifetime, his strange use of coloration was praised by French artist Henri Matisse. Redon also has an critical influence on later art styles, in certain, Dadaism and Surrealism, the participants of which have been drawn to his naturalist depictions of the imaginary.

Linked Content articles:

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