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Bordeaux 1840-1916 Paris

Redon was a leading Symbolist painter of fin de siècle France. His eccentric works on paper were immortalized by the author Joris-Karl Huysmans (1848–1907) in his decadent novel À Rebours (1884). A failed architect, Redon studied briefly with Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904), but a far more formative influence was the draughtsman and printmaker Rodolphe Bresdin (1822–85). Redon’s early work consisted of phantasmagorical drawings and prints depicting such subjects as spiders and balloons with huge human eyes. Like many symbolist artists, he was drawn to a parallel literary world, especially the works of Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Edgar Allen Poe for which he provided illustrations. His haunting, visionary drawings produced in the 1880s and 1890s known as Noirs are still highly prized. Redon was taken up by the celebrated dealer Ambroise Vollard (1866–1939), who encouraged him to branch out his subject-matter and to work in oils and pastel. He became influenced by Japanese culture and started to produce floral still lifes both in oil and pastel after 1900. He also painted brightly colored works with an ethereal, spiritual content, often depicting classical figures such as Apollo, Pandora and Cyclops. Another recurring motif in his later works was the boat. Redon was the single most represented French artist in the legendary 1913 Armory exhibition of modern art.

 

Top Auction Results for Odilon Redon

Fleurs
Sold for $4,092,500
New York, Christie’s, 8 May 2018, The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller: 19th and 20th Century Art, Evening Sale, lot 42

Vase au guerrier japonais
Sold for £2,036,500 ($4,021,524)
London, Sotheby’s, 5 February 2008, Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale, lot 33

La barque aux deux femmes blanches
Sold for $3,132,500
New York, Christie’s, 10 May 2018, The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller: Fine Art, Day Sale, lot 507

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