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Odilon Redon, painter of the subconsciuos, was born a day like today in 1840
22 April, 2017
Ophélie, 1900–05 Ophelia Pastel on paper mounted on cardboard, 50.5 x 67.3 cm Dian Woodner Collection, New York Photo: Lynton Gardiner
French artist Odilon Redon (Bordeaux 1840 – Paris 1916) was a painter of the imaginary and the subconscious and a renowned naturalist. Seen as a ‘marginal’ artist at the time, he nevertheless played a fundamental role in the genesis of modern art.
The ambivalent, enigmatic oeuvre of this poet of colour is characterised by caesurae and contrasts, evolving from the palette of blacks found in his early charcoal drawings and lithographs to the explosive colourfulness of his later pastels and oil paintings. His works alternate between eeriness and serenity: bizarre monsters appear alongside heavenly creatures in a blend of dream and nightmare, nature and imagination.
His works are today represented in many of the world’s major museums, but at the turn of the century he was one of the least known artists despite being such a major artistic figure of the era.