Pure Colour: Pastels of Odilon Redon

Lovely colours and mythical enchantments.

The Eclectic Light Company

Painting in pastels is as close as you can come to pure pigment, thus to pure colour. This week’s pastellist is perhaps the greatest exponent of this. Odilon Redon (1840–1916), who is known by his nickname acquired from his mother, Marie-Odile, didn’t turn to pastels until the middle of his career.

He tried to start with a classical training, but couldn’t gain admission to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and didn’t stay long as a pupil in Jean-Léon Gérôme’s studio. He concentrated on etching and lithography during his early career, then turned to painting in oils. It wasn’t until the 1890s, when he was in his fifties, that Redon concentrated on painting. For the next twenty years he produced a series of highly original paintings in oils and pastels.

redonmysticalknight Odilon Redon (1840–1916), Mystical Knight (Oedipus and the Sphinx) (1894), pastel, dimensions and location not known. Image by, via…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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