Odilon Redon (fr. Odilon Bertrand-Jean Redon), April 20, 1840, Bordeaux - July 6, 1916, Paris - French artist and graphic artist.
Odilon will be born to the Redons a couple of weeks after their arriving in France in 1840, but something will be wrong with him. He will dream and dream, wrapped in heavy thick curtains, he will wander through the fields and lie in the grass from morning to evening, looking at the clouds and looking for silhouettes of strange creatures in their outlines. Whether the parents were ashamed of some manifestations of his childhood illness or simply did not want to mess with an unhealthy child - but Odilon lived without them until the age of 11. And practically no people.
Silence and loneliness were the favorite games of Bertrand-Jean Redon. Odilon of the boy will be called later - a pet name, derived from the name of his mother Odile, will gradually replace that obtained at his birth.
Seven school years would be for the boy a pure evil and a waste of strength if he had not started working in the watercolorist workshop Stanislas Gorin in his spare time.
Redon had no luck with official teachers - they ignored his incomprehensible talent. He failed his exams, when he tried to study architect at the request of his father, he didn’t try to do sculpture very successfully for a year, he froze motionless with a trembling and beating heart, when his painting teacher, the famous salon artist Jean-Leon Jerome, came up to his easel to make impatient, violent edits without restraining irritation. In this protracted, fruitless search, Redon's meeting with the lithographer Rodolph Breden was decisive. Breden not only teaches the technique of lithography and engraving, Breden believes in Redon’s personality and in his strange dreams.
Behind the door of Redon rage battles for new art - the Impressionists organize exhibitions and compete for the importance of the momentary. Redon, on the other hand, takes up lithograph albums, in which it is extremely far from modernity and momentary - to the beginning of the world, to the primordial chaos, from which any incredible form, any unseen creature can be born. Redon fixes the pictures of his imaginary world for a long time and persistently, not striving for fame and approval of new ideas in art.
Already in the twentieth century, Redon’s exhibitions will be held throughout almost all of Europe and in three American cities, an Order of the Legion of Honor will be awarded to the artist, an entire hall will be devoted to his color works in the Autumn Salon in Paris, and publisher Andre Mellerio will publish a catalog of his early lithographic works.
Redon will write fantastic bouquets and mystical portraits. His only son Ari goes to the front with the beginning of the First World War. Anxiety for his son undermined the health of Redon, he will die in Paris at the age of 73 years.