Born: 1840, Bordeaux, France
Died: 1916, Paris, France
Odilon Redon was mainly self-taught as a painter. He lived in Bordeaux and Paris. Until he was in his fifties he worked almost exclusively in black and white, in charcoal drawings and lithographs. In 1867 he exhibited an etching at the Salon. Redon was a great admirer of Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). Later he also met Corot, Courbet and Fantin-Latour. He exhibited for the first time in 1881 at the gallery of the journal “La vie moderne”. In 1884 he was a co-founder of the “indépendants”. For years he only did copper engravings, but in 1886 he exhibited at the 8th Impressionist exhibition and with Les Vingt in Brussels. During the 1890’s Redon turned to painting and revealed remarkable powers as a colorist that had lain dormant and began to do Symbolist work. Also, in 1890, a friendship began with Gauguin, and he came in close contact with the poet Mallarme in 1891. An exhibition was arranged in his honour by symbolist painters at Durand-Ruel’s in 1899. After a serious illness in 1894-95, he began to work with pastels and oils again in a relaxed style, using brighter and more intense colors. Redon was given a prominent place in Dents’ group-portrait “Hommage à Cézanne”. His flower pieces, in particular, were much admired by Matisse, and the surrealists also regarded Redon as one of their precursors. During 1909-1916 he lived a life of withdrawal and meditation at Bièvres, near Paris.