October 26, 2003

Redon’s Noirs

There follow images of some of the works in charcoal and chalk by French painter and graphic artist Odilon Redon (1840-1916). These, together with some of his darkly monochrome lithographs, have been collectively dubbed noirs.

Eye-Balloon, 1878, Charcoal: The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Redon was a late starter who, after numerous setbacks and false starts, gradually began to find a style of his own from the mid 1870s. It wasn’t until 1879, and the publication of his first album of lithographs Dans le Rêve that Redon’s work began to attract wider attention.

Spirit of the Forest (Specter from a Giant Tree), 1880, Charcoal and black chalk heightened wiith white chalk - The Woodner Family Collection, New York.

Many of his most fervent admirers were writers, and a good deal of his inspiration was, reciprocally, literary: he published lithographs inspired by Poe, and, later by Flaubert’s Tentation de Saint Antoine. He was lauded by Huysmans, and was a close friend of Mallarmé’s.

Cactus Man, 1881, Charcoal - The Woodner Family Collection, New York.

Only in the 1890s did Redon’s pallette admit the full spectrum of colour, supplanting the sombre melancholy of his earlier work with a vibrant mysticism. As though making up for those black-and-white years, many of these later pieces, those in pastel especially, positively glow with colour - as I can personally attest, having been lucky enough to catch the 1995 Redon exhibition during its stop at the Royal Academy in London.

The Grinning Spider, 1881, Charcoal - Musee du Louvre, Paris.

The images here were snipped from the Artchive, the Webmuseum and Artmagick. Clicking on them will open larger versions of the same.

The Raven, 1882, Charcoal drawing - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.


Posted by misteraitch at October 26, 2003 11:15 PM | TrackBack

Gee we just studied Redon last week. A Symbolist, they say. I like all of this work.

Posted by: eva on October 27, 2003 05:25 AM

Symbolists merely paint what they see in their sleep.

Posted by: Gerard Van der Leun on November 13, 2003 04:53 PM

The days are all empty and the nights are unreal.

Posted by: Bev Shell on September 6, 2004 01:06 PM
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