Odilon Redon (1840-1916)
Born in Bordeaux in 1840, Odilon Redon studied literature, architecture, and violin, before deciding to become a visual artist in the early 1870s. His early works – mostly charcoal drawings and lithographs, which he called his Noirs – are predominantly monochromatic. They are largely inspired by literature, especially by the work of Charles Beaudelaire, Gustave Flaubert and Edgar Allan Poe.
Around the 1890s Redon started ‘discovering’ colour, and by the turn of the century, mainly worked with oils and pastels. The paintings of this phase are characterized by a vivid tonality and an atmosphere of lyrical serenity. The decorative aspect played an increasingly important part in Redon’s art – flowers had become a favoured motif.
In 1899 Redon exhibited with the Nabis group, but his art was equally admired by the Fauves, especially Matisse. Odilon Redon died in Paris in 1913.