Odilon Redon (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Through long years of artistic experimentation, Redon developed a mysterious, nostalgic, melancholy, and sometimes humorous fantasy world in his paintings, prints, and drawings. This world became his distinctive contribution to the allusive art movement of the end of the nineteenth century called Symbolism.
Originally christened Bertrand-Jean, Odilon Redon was always known by his nickname, the masculine version of his mother’s name, Marie-Odile. She was an American from New Orleans, Louisiana, where Redon’s French father had established a lucrative business. Shortly before Redon’s birth, his father brought the family permanently back to France. Redon was a sickly child; as a young boy, he was sent to live with an aged uncle at a rural family estate near Bordeaux. The boy lived a reclusive life close to nature, drawing the natural beauty around him and creating his own fantasy world. As an adult, he frequently returned to this home, which served as an unending source of inspiration. A nostalgia for this boyhood home never left him. From the age of eleven, he received professional art training. Originally, his goal was to become an architect, but it became clear that he did not possess the mathematical skills required for such a profession. At that point, his father allowed him to pursue training as an artist.
Redon was keenly interested in playing the violin and reading...
(The entire section is 1845 words.)
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