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Odilon Redon


One of the Greatest Painters Of All Time

French Symbolist Painter and Graphic Artist

Education - studied under Jean-Léon Gérome at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France

Cause of Death - heart failure

Odilon Redon Style and influences

Distinguished art critic and historian Marsden Hartley explains "His art holds, too, something of that breathlessness among the trees one finds in Watteau and in Lancret, maybe more akin to Lancret, for he, also, was more a depicter of the ephemeral. We think of Redon as among those who transvaluate all earthly sensations in terms of a purer element. We] think of him as living with his head among the mists, alert for all those sudden bursts of light which fleck here and there forgotten or unseen places, making them live with a new resplendency, full of new revealment, perfect with wonder. Happily we find in him a hatred of description and of illustration, we find these pictures to be illuminations from rich pages not observed by the common eye, decorations out of a world the like of which has been but too seldom seen by those who aspire to vision. Chansons sans paroles are they, ringing clearly and flawlessly to the eye as do those songs of Verlaine (with whom he has also some relationship) to the well-attuned ear.

He was the master of the nuance, and the nuance was his lyricism, his special gift, his genius. He knew perfectly the true vibration of note to note, and how few are they whose esthetic emotions are built upon the strictly poetic basis, who escape the world-old pull towards description and illustration. How few, indeed, among those of the materialistic vision escape this. But for Redon there was but one world, and that a world of imperceptible light on all things visible, with always a kind of song of adoration upon his lips, as it were, obsessed with reverence and child wonder toward every least and greatest thing, and it was in these portrayals of least things that he exposed their naked loveliness as among the greatest. Never did Redon seek for the miniature; he knew merely that the part is the representation of the whole, that the perfect fragment is a true representative of beauty, and that the vision of some fair hand or some fair eye is sure to be the epitome of all that is lovely in the individual."

Odilon Redon Quotations

"I have placed there a little door opening on to the mysterious. I have made stories."  -- Odilon Redon

What distinguishes the artist from the dilettante? Only the pain the artist feels. The dilettante looks only for pleasure in art.   -- Odilon Redon

"While I recognize the necessity for a basis of observed reality... true art lies in a reality that is felt." -- Odilon Redon

Important Symbolist Painters 

Odilon Redon 1840-1916

Charles Guilloux French1866 - 1946

Edvard Munch Norwegian, 1863-1944

Gustave Moreau French  1826-1898

Alphonse Osbert French 1857 – 1939

 The Symbolists Image Gallery


 Inportant Words and Phrases Associated With Symbolist Painting -  emotional effects, emotional experience, avant-garde, nineteenth-century, Les Fleurs du mal, Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, psychological depths, symbolic colors, exaggerated imagery, human psyche, exaggeration, primitivism, transparent colors, self-expression, expression intensity,  psychological, symbolic themes, universal subject matter, industrial modern age, individual genius, sense of otherness, otherworldly

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