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ODILON REDON  1840-1916


Odilon Redon. Village dans les basses Pyrenees. Oil on canvas. 18,5x23,8cm

Private Collection of Zoia and Clem Chambers


Born in Bordeaux. France. Worked and lived in Paris

Odilon Redon was born in Bordeaux. His real name was Bertrand Redon but from the young age he acquired the nickname "Odilon" from his mother's first name, Odile.

Redon started drawing as a child.  At the age of ten, he was awarded a drawing prize at school. He wanted to become a painter but his father insisted that he must enter École des Beaux-Arts in Paris as an architect. Odilon fail to pass the entrance exams and had to return back to his native city Bordeaux where he continue to pursuit his artistic studies. He studied sculpting, etching and lithography. In 1870 he was drafted to serve in the army in the Franco Prussian War. After the war he moved to Paris and continued his artistic career as a drawer and lithographer.  Only seven years later his works gained a recognition. But his “overnight success” came not from the art collecting circles but from a cult novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans “A rebours” which main character, a decadent aristocrat, was collecting Redon’s drawings. This draw attention to his art and in 1899 he exhibited with the Nabis under patronage of an art dealer Durand-Ruel. 

In 1903 Redon was awarded the Legion of Honor. His popularity increased when a catalogue of etchings and lithographs was published by André Mellerio in 1913. That same year, he was given the largest single representation at the International Exhibition of Modern Art (Armory Show), in New York City, Chicago and Boston.

Redon died on 6 July 1916


Circle: Henri Fantin-Latour, Stéphane Mallarmé, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Paul Gauguin, Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard. 

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