born April 20,
1840, Bordeaux, France
died July 6, 1916, Paris
French Symbolist painter, lithographer, and etcher of considerable
poetic sensitivity and imagination, whose work developed along two
divergent lines. His prints explore haunted, fantastic, often macabre
themes and foreshadowed the Surrealist and Dadaist movements. His oils
and pastels, chiefly still lifes with flowers, won him the admiration of
Henri Matisse and other painters as an important colourist.
Redon studied under Jean-Léon Gérome; mastered engraving from Rodolphe
Bresdin, who exerted an importantinfluence; and learned lithography
under Henri Fantin-Latour. His aesthetic was one of imagination rather
than visual perception. His imagination found an intellectual catalyst
in his close friend, the Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé. Redon was
also associated with the group of Symbolist painters.
Redon produced nearly 200 prints, beginning in 1879 with the lithographs
collectively titled In the Dream. He completed another series (1882)
dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe, whose poems had been translated into
French with great success by Mallarmé and Charles Baudelaire. Rather
than illustrating Poe, Redon's lithographs are poems in visual terms,
themselves evoking the poet's world of private torment. There is an
evident link to Goya in Redon's imageryof winged demons and menacing
shapes, and one of his series was the Homage to Goya (1885).
About the time of the print series The Apocalypse of St. John (1889),
Redon began devoting himself to painting and colour drawing—sensitive
floral studies, and heads that appear to be dreaming or lost in reverie.
He developed a unique palette of powdery and pungent hues. Though there
is a relationship between hiswork and that of the Impressionist
painters, he opposed both Impressionism and Realism as wholly
Bordeaux, 20 April 1840; d Paris, 6 July 1916.
French printmaker, draughtsman and painter. He spent his childhood
at Peyrelebade, his father’s estate in the Médoc. Peyrelebade became
a basic source of inspiration for all his art, providing him with
both subjects from nature and a stimulus for his fantasies, and
Redon returned there constantly until its enforced sale in 1897. He
received his education in Bordeaux from 1851, rapidly showing talent
in many art forms: he studied drawing with Stanislas Gorin
(?1824–?1874) from 1855; in 1857 he attempted unsuccessfully to
become an architect; and he also became an accomplished violinist.
He developed a keen interest in contemporary literature, partly
through the influence of Armand Clavaud, a botanist and thinker who
became his friend and intellectual mentor.