Odilon Redon: 11 works

A slideshow of artworks auto-selected from multiple collections

By Google Arts & Culture

Caliban (1881) by Odilon RedonMusée d’Orsay, Paris

'Caliban, a character from The Tempest by William Shakespeare, was a major source of inspiration for Redon and was depicted in several other works, including a later painting (around 1895-1900) of small size called Caliban asleep (Musée d'Orsay). Familiar with Darwinism and contemporary scientific theories on the mutation of living beings, Redon interpreted the Elizabethan Renaissance myth of the savage through the portrayal of this strange hybrid creature, closely associated with the plant world.'

Apparition (about 1880–1890) by Odilon RedonThe J. Paul Getty Museum

'This is one of Odilon Redon's "Noirs," charcoal drawings that he made over several decades in the late 1800s and so named for their dark tones and mysterious, often nightmarish, imagery.'

Closed Eyes (1890) by Odilon RedonMusée d’Orsay, Paris

'It is also reminiscent of Michelangelo's Dying Slave exhibited at the Louvre, which had deeply affected Redon; he spoke in his diary of the strange charm of the "closed eyes". An icon of Symbolism in painting, this was the first of Redon's works to enter the national collections; it was chosen by Léonce Bénédite, the director of the Musée du Luxembourg, in the artist's studio in 1904.'

Baronne de Domecy (about 1900) by Odilon RedonThe J. Paul Getty Museum

'Reflecting Redon's fascination with underwater life, these prevalent blues, alongside notes of green and purple, also conjure up an aquatic world with its hidden depths and elusive meanings.'

The Green Vase (Le vase vert) (ca. 1900) by Odilon RedonThe Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

'Redon is best known as a painter of imaginary, dream-like visions, but he was also an accomplished painter of floral still lifes. Particularly in the later years of his life, he produced large numbers of such works, using flowers cut from his garden at Bièvres, just outside of Paris.'

Baroness Robert de Domecy (1900) by Odilon RedonMusée d’Orsay, Paris

'This is one of the few oil portraits that Redon made for the wife of his friend Baron de Domecy.'

Trees on a yellow Background (1901) by Odilon RedonMusée d’Orsay, Paris

'Redon was of the same generation as the Impressionists. In 1876, Monet decorated the château of his friend Ernest Hoschedé, whereas Renoir never stopped thinking "decoration" and "gaiety on bare walls".'

Flower Clouds (About 1903) by Odilon Redon (French, 1840–1916)The Art Institute of Chicago

'The evocative, symbolic art of Odilon Redon drew its inspiration from the internal world of his imagination.'

Roger and Angelica (1910) by Odilon RedonMoMA The Museum of Modern Art

'The young Redon is said to have watched the clouds scudding over the flat Bordeaux landscape where he was raised and imagined in them the fantastic beings that he would later conjure up in his paintings, drawings, lithographs, and pastels. Roger and Angelica, executed in the last period of his career, when color had bewitched him, exemplifies Redon's consummate ability to imbue his wildly imaginative fantasies with color, light, and shadow, using the mere strokes of a crayon.'

Mystery (circa 1910) by Odilon RedonThe Phillips Collection

'Accordingly, the symbolist and Nabis painters, who found Redon's mystical interpretations of the essence of life appealing, eventually adopted him as their mentor during the 1890s. Pierre Bonnard wrote of his admiration for Redon's "blending of two almost opposite features: a very pure plastic substance and a very mysterious expression."'

The cyclops (c. 1914) by Odilon Redon (1840 - 1916)The Kröller-Müller Museum

'With this personal, dreamlike depiction of a theme from the realm of the Greek gods, Redon has painted one of the masterpieces of symbolist art.'

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