Friday 20 June 2008

Odilon Redon

This is a painting by the French artist Odilon Redon. 1840 ~ 1916. It's titled " Silence"
He seems to have been quite a productive sort of man and appears to generally have been content to stick to his own artistic concerns with almost no reference to developments in the greater art world.

I'm feeling a bit lazy this morning so rather than try and sum his work up here's an excerpt from "Symbolism" , by Michael Gibson.

"Standing outside trends and movements, Odilon Redon, a native of Bordeaux, produced a rich and enigmatic corpus: 'Like music', he declared, 'my drawings transport us to the ambiguous world of the indeterminate.' In contrast with Goya's monsters and Kubin's nightmare visions, his work is imbued with a melancholy passivity. While origins of this disposition must be sought in the artist's experience, the overall effect is entirely consistent with the moods of Symbolism ... : nocturnal, autumnal, and lunar rather than solar. During the early part of Redon's career, the nocturnal did indeed predominate. Only later did he admit the light of day. His mature production began around 1875 when Redon entered the shadowy world of charcoal and the lithographer's stone. This period yielded sequences such as [Guardian Spirit of the Waters (1878)] and [Cactus Man (1881)]. Redon made it clear that they had been inspired by his dreams, and they inspire in the spectator a conviction like that of dreams.

"It was only in the 1890s that he began to use the luminous, musical tones of pastel and oils. These became the dominant media of the last fifteen years of his life. Redon's art was always commanded by his dreams, but the thematic content of his work over his last twenty years is more densely mythical, brimming with new-found hope and light which rose quite unexpectedly out of the depths of the artist's personality. This is particularly apparent in the various canvasses depicting the chariot of Apollo, the god of the sun."

I've also been drawn to many of the ideas he writes about in his diaries to himself. This one is a current favourite.

"Materials have their own secrets to reveal, they have their own genius. It is through them that the oracle speaks"