Arts Everyday Living: Happy Birthday Redon, the Dreamer of Artists–A Tribute to His Son

Odilon Redon, Portrait of Ari Redon, c. 1898, pastel on pale blue wove paper faded to gray, Bequest Kate L. Brewster, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois


Title: Portrait of Ari Redon, c. 1898

Artist: Odilon Redon (1840-1916)


Yesterday, April 20, was French master Odilon Redon’s 184th birthday celebration! Although he exhibited in the Impressionist’s last exhibition in 1886, Redon was an independent spirit whose often visionary works are a reflection of his dreams and imagination. Remarkably Redon created primarily in pencil, charcoal, and lithography in the early part of his career. However, by the time Redon produced Portrait of Ari Redon above, he was increasingly using color, sometimes with an intensity and radiance unsurpassed by most artists.

Yet, the pastel palette of his tribute to his son Ari is more subdued, from the flesh tones to the ethereal blossoms that appear to float upon the serene green background. Although the blues (and to some extent the yellows) seem to vibrate in Ari’s shirt and areas of the flowers. Is there a mysterious quality to the then 8-9 year old boy? Is it difficult to describe his expression?

Ari would live a long life, dying in 1972 at the age of 83.




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