Biography

Odilon Redon, 1901
Odilon Redon Bordeaux April 20, 1840, - Paris July 16, 1916

1840  Bertrand Jean Redon is born on 20 April in Bordeaux as the second of five children to Betrand Redon, a prosperous landowner, and his Creole wife, Marie-Odile.

Until 1851  Suffering from epileptic fits as a child, Odilon, as he is known after his mother, grows up in the care of his uncle at the family vineyard Peyrelebade in Médoc.

1857  Makes friends with the botanist Armand Clavaud, who introduces him to Darwin's writings and contemporary literature.

1862-63  Moves to Paris to study architecture. Returns to Bordeaux after failing to be admitted to the architecture class at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

1864  Studies for a short time in the studio of the history painter Jean Léon Gérôme in Paris. 

1868  First art review published in La Gironde newspaper.

1874  Redon's father dies, resulting in financial troubles for the family.

1879  Publication of Redon's first lithograph series, Dans la rêve.

1880  Weds Camille Falte, with whom he will lead a happy, supportive married life.

1881  First one-man show, with a series of charcoal drawings (Noirs) which meet with public incomprehension.

1884  The Société des Artistes indépendants, co-founded and presided over by Redon, holds the first of its group exhibitions, which become known as Salons des Indépendants. The shows include paintings by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, and many more. Redon's art becomes known through Joris Karl Huysman's novel, A rebours.

1889  Birth of the Redons' son Arï, which sparks the artist's rediscovery of color.

1890  Increased turn to colored pastels and oils.

1891  Redon becomes the point of reference for the young artists group Nabis.

1894  First comprehensive oeuvre show, at the legendary Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris.

1902  Gives up charcoal drawing and works in colors only from this point on.

1904  The painting Yeux clos becomes Redon's first work to enter a national museum, the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris.

1905  Redon's floral paintings attract attention. Gradually collectors and art lovers make his art better known to a broad public and assure him of a secure existence.

1913  Represented with numerous works at the Armory Show in New York, which introduces Americans to European modern art.

1914  Redon's first solo shows in the German-speaking region, in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Zurich.

1916  Odilon Redon dies on 6 July in Paris, and is buried in Bièvres in the Essonne.

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