French, 1840 - 1916
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The greatest of the French symbolists. He was a pupil of Stanislas Gorin at Bordeaux, of Gerôme at the Paris Beaux-Arts, and finally of Rodolphe Bresdin. In 1870 he settled in Paris. Worked at first with charcoal. In 1879, published a first series of lithographs In Dream
. Others were to follow. In 1884, he took part in the Salon des Indépendants of which he was one of the founders, and in the Salon of the XX in Brussels (in 1886,1887 and 1890). A friend of Mallarm&ecute;, Francis Jammes, Jean Moréas and Paul Valéry. He took up pastels and colour in the 1890s. His finest creations are those in which his supple draughtsmanship and rare, phosphorescent colours evoke a mythical universe. It is no coincidence that these evocative images, whose sumptuous line encloses dream-like colours, attracted the praise of the Symbolist writers, from Stéphane Mallarmé to J-K Huysmans. He was admired by painters as various as Gaugin, Emile Bernard, Matisse and the Nabis, who dragged him out of his retirement. Painting was, for Redon, a way of escaping his own psychological problems, problems as "literary" as those of Gustave Moreau, whom he knew and admired.
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