The Enchanted: Odilon Redon Master Prints

Odilon Redon
Date: 
Saturday, 25 May 2019 to Sunday, 1 September 2019
Curator/s: 
Gippsland Art Gallery and Warrnambool Art Gallery

WAG, in partnership with Gippsland Art Gallery (GAG) are thrilled to present 'The Enchanted: Odilon Redon Master Prints', an exhibition of lithographs and drawings by the French symbolist master Odilon Redon (1840 - 1916). The works in this exhibition focus on Redon's 'Les Noirs' (The Blacks) series, monochromatic charcoal drawings and lithographs that use the potency of black to render an inner world of cosmic floating heads, strange plants, grinning teeth and laughing spiders; a realm where things emerge that cannot be seen in the light. 'The Enchanted: Odilon Redon Master Prints’ is a rare opportunity to see works by this highly celebrated and internationally significant artist.

Odilon Redon

Redon was born Bertrand Jean Redon in 1840, into a prosperous family in Bordeaux, France. A melancholic child, he was sent to live with his Uncle in the country and spent his early years observing nature. Although he showed talent for drawing as a child and studied under the watercolourist Stanislas Gorin it was not until he returned to Paris in 1871, after serving in the Franco Prussian War, that he would begin his dark symbolist paintings. A year later Redon learned the transfer method of lithography, which he would use a medium to render the strange and sombre along with the medium of charcoal, which Redon felt embodied a fullness of physical energy. Redon would produce most of his 30 etchings and 170 lithographs between 1870 and 1900, each accompanied by descriptive and beguiling titled such as "Then he appears a singular being, having the head of a man and the body of a fish". Paradoxically, as the century turned, Redon would embrace the use of colour that he had once rejected, producing paintings and drawings with pastel that earned him the administration of the Impressionists.

Image credit: Odilon Redon, The chimera gazed at all things with fear, 1886. Lithograph on paper. Private collection.