Odilon redon pastels


Nothing can be created in art by the will alone. All art is the submission of the will to the unconscious. –Odilon Redon

Painting is an essentially physical language made up of what is visible. That which is abstract and invisible does not belong to the domain of painting.

Redon was born into a prosperous Bordeaux family and began drawing at the age of ten. As a young child he suffered from epilepsy and was sent away to live with his Uncle on the family vineyard at Peyrelebade in the Medoc, where he experienced the “full solitude of the countryside”. It was perhaps here that he formed the fusion of the natural and the fantastic that characterised his work as a graphic artist. At fifteen, he had his first lessons in drawing from Stanislas Gorin, who encouraged him to copy the works of Delacroix, available to him at the Museum of Bordeaux.

In 1870, Redon served in the army during the Franco-Prussian war, moving to Paris in 1871 after the German victory. It was not until 1878 that he gained any recognition: first with the lithograph Guardian of the Waters , and then with an album of lithographs Dans le Rêve . The peculiarity of his work is evident from The Smiling Spider (1881) shown below.

The giant winged head looking down on the diminutive boat clearly illustrates Redon’s preference for the unseen forces he believed lay below the surface of appearances, his intention being to make these known through his imaginative art. The spider, with ten legs rather than the usual eight, smiles mischievously as it performs a lopsided dance. A cursory Freudian analysis might suggest that Redon’s dark little demon is pleased with its freedom to express his unconscious desires through the medium of art. Redon explained himself by saying:

My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.

Pastel, with touches of stumping, incising, and brushwork, on blue-gray wove paper with multi-colored fibers altered to tan, perimeter mounted to cardboard
445 x 542 mm
Signed lower left, in black conté crayon: "ODILON REDON"

Through prior bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1990.165

Sold by the artist to Charles Waltner, Paris, February 1904 [Chicago 1994]; Charles Waltner, to 1926 [Wildenstein 1996]. Marcel Kapferer, Paris, c. 1930 [Wildenstein 1996]. Vogel, Versoix, Switzerland, 1947 [Wildenstein 1996]. Private collection, Switzerland, c. 1989 [Wildenstein 1996]. Sold, Hôtel des Ventes, Enghein, France, November 21, 1989, lot 8. Sold by Altman-Burke Fine Art Inc., New York, to the Art Institute, 1990.

Art Resource
Prints and Drawings
Prints and Drawings: 20th and 21st Centuries
Prints and Drawings: Featured Works
Prints and Drawings: French
Provenance Research Project

Historic Collections: The Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection
Examination: Redon's Artistic Style and Symbolism
Artist Biography: Odilon Redon
Video: Redon's Symbolism through Art
Video: Redon's Symbolism through Art

"My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined." Odilon Redon - a French, symbolist painter - began his career as an artist after failing to pass the entrance exams to become an architect. He started working with charcoal before evolving to brightly colored pastels and oils later in his career. His works - which have been described as a blend of nightmares and dreams - include fantastical figures, animals, and scenes from his imagination. Although a large body of his works are dark in color and even subject matter, Redon’s paintings were meant to portray "the triumph of light over darkness".

Nothing can be created in art by the will alone. All art is the submission of the will to the unconscious. –Odilon Redon

Painting is an essentially physical language made up of what is visible. That which is abstract and invisible does not belong to the domain of painting.

Redon was born into a prosperous Bordeaux family and began drawing at the age of ten. As a young child he suffered from epilepsy and was sent away to live with his Uncle on the family vineyard at Peyrelebade in the Medoc, where he experienced the “full solitude of the countryside”. It was perhaps here that he formed the fusion of the natural and the fantastic that characterised his work as a graphic artist. At fifteen, he had his first lessons in drawing from Stanislas Gorin, who encouraged him to copy the works of Delacroix, available to him at the Museum of Bordeaux.

In 1870, Redon served in the army during the Franco-Prussian war, moving to Paris in 1871 after the German victory. It was not until 1878 that he gained any recognition: first with the lithograph Guardian of the Waters , and then with an album of lithographs Dans le Rêve . The peculiarity of his work is evident from The Smiling Spider (1881) shown below.

The giant winged head looking down on the diminutive boat clearly illustrates Redon’s preference for the unseen forces he believed lay below the surface of appearances, his intention being to make these known through his imaginative art. The spider, with ten legs rather than the usual eight, smiles mischievously as it performs a lopsided dance. A cursory Freudian analysis might suggest that Redon’s dark little demon is pleased with its freedom to express his unconscious desires through the medium of art. Redon explained himself by saying:

My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.

Pastel, with touches of stumping, incising, and brushwork, on blue-gray wove paper with multi-colored fibers altered to tan, perimeter mounted to cardboard
445 x 542 mm
Signed lower left, in black conté crayon: "ODILON REDON"

Through prior bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1990.165

Sold by the artist to Charles Waltner, Paris, February 1904 [Chicago 1994]; Charles Waltner, to 1926 [Wildenstein 1996]. Marcel Kapferer, Paris, c. 1930 [Wildenstein 1996]. Vogel, Versoix, Switzerland, 1947 [Wildenstein 1996]. Private collection, Switzerland, c. 1989 [Wildenstein 1996]. Sold, Hôtel des Ventes, Enghein, France, November 21, 1989, lot 8. Sold by Altman-Burke Fine Art Inc., New York, to the Art Institute, 1990.

Art Resource
Prints and Drawings
Prints and Drawings: 20th and 21st Centuries
Prints and Drawings: Featured Works
Prints and Drawings: French
Provenance Research Project

Historic Collections: The Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection
Examination: Redon's Artistic Style and Symbolism
Artist Biography: Odilon Redon
Video: Redon's Symbolism through Art
Video: Redon's Symbolism through Art

Nothing can be created in art by the will alone. All art is the submission of the will to the unconscious. –Odilon Redon

Painting is an essentially physical language made up of what is visible. That which is abstract and invisible does not belong to the domain of painting.

Redon was born into a prosperous Bordeaux family and began drawing at the age of ten. As a young child he suffered from epilepsy and was sent away to live with his Uncle on the family vineyard at Peyrelebade in the Medoc, where he experienced the “full solitude of the countryside”. It was perhaps here that he formed the fusion of the natural and the fantastic that characterised his work as a graphic artist. At fifteen, he had his first lessons in drawing from Stanislas Gorin, who encouraged him to copy the works of Delacroix, available to him at the Museum of Bordeaux.

In 1870, Redon served in the army during the Franco-Prussian war, moving to Paris in 1871 after the German victory. It was not until 1878 that he gained any recognition: first with the lithograph Guardian of the Waters , and then with an album of lithographs Dans le Rêve . The peculiarity of his work is evident from The Smiling Spider (1881) shown below.

The giant winged head looking down on the diminutive boat clearly illustrates Redon’s preference for the unseen forces he believed lay below the surface of appearances, his intention being to make these known through his imaginative art. The spider, with ten legs rather than the usual eight, smiles mischievously as it performs a lopsided dance. A cursory Freudian analysis might suggest that Redon’s dark little demon is pleased with its freedom to express his unconscious desires through the medium of art. Redon explained himself by saying:

My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.


Technical Investigation of Odilon Redon s Pastels and Noirs

Odilon Redon: Pastels: Roseline Bacou, Odilon Redon.

    Nothing can be created in art by the will alone. All art is the submission of the will to the unconscious. –Odilon RedonPainting is an essentially physical language made up of what is visible. That which is abstract and invisible does not belong to
316URxznvDL