The Cleveland Museum of Art examines Odillion Redon’s eerie work at a special exhibition

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  • CMA
  • Quasimodo, c. 1875-80.Odilon Redon

The Cleveland Museum of Art celebrates the eerie work of 19th-century French artist Odillion Redon at the exhibition “Collecting Dreams” at CMA’s Julia Andry Pollock Focus Gallery until January 23, 2022.

In connection with Halloween and this exhibition, Cleveland Literature will also host “Noir: A Writing Inspired by Odilon Redon.” This is a dark, fantastic, eerie, suspenseful writing inspired by Redon’s visionary work at the Morley Family Lecture Hall. Friday afternoon, October 29th.

Participants include Andrea Imdacha, Kurt Fawver, and Aparna Paul.

Odilon Redon (1840–1916) was known as the “Prince of Mysterious Dreams” for creating paintings, drawings and prints that blended fantasy, literature and subconsciousness. This included subjects such as ghouls, monsters, and sorcerers, as well as religious iconography such as Jesus and angels.

For the first time, Redon’s crazy Victor Hugo novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1831) is the main character and character Quasimodo’s newly obtained (2020) charcoal painting. Quasimodo’s characters have been portrayed throughout the history of theater, film and musicals, including the 1996 Disney animation. “Collecting Dreams” reveals Redon’s history in Cleveland and introduces his career and work phases.

Quasimodo’s work is from a series of drawings that Redon called “Noir” to express the use of black materials such as charcoal and its premonition. This work is an exceptional example of an artist’s experimentation with materials. The exhibition also highlights an important painting by Redon entitled Andromeda (1912), first exhibited in the United States by the CMA in 1926, along with Redon’s work from the Cleveland collection.

“CMA was one of the first American museums to collect the works of this groundbreaking artist, and with early gifts and purchases, it is international as the most important repository of Redon’s works outside France. It has been well received, “said William M. Griswold’s director. CMA. “This exhibition has recorded nearly 100 years of collection and we look forward to sharing these important and mysterious works with our visitors.”

Redon, who was studying art in Paris, refused formal training there and felt too conservative before returning to his hometown of Bordeaux in southern France. Over the next decade, his work was rendered only in black, often exploring strange themes, from black lithographs to dark charcoal paintings. Around 1890, the artist pivoted when he discovered pastel, a powdery material made from pure pigments. Since then, the artist has spent the rest of his career creating works that depict myths, religions, and his social circles.

“Even if you are new to Redon’s work, I hope you will be attracted to his strange and fascinating style. His wide variety of paintings, prints and drawings appealed to CMA’s early curators. However, they were still contemporary art and were considered a very speculative purchase of American museums. These works are rarely exhibited and this exhibition learns about this exciting contemporary artist. This is an unprecedented opportunity, “says Brittany Salsbury, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings.

The Cleveland Museum of Art examines Odillion Redon’s eerie work at a special exhibition

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