Odilon Redon (1840 – 1916) was a Symbolist painter and printmaker, born in Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France. Odilon was a nickname derived from his mother, Odile.
Redon started drawing as a young child, and at the age of 10 he was awarded a drawing prize at school. At age 15, he began formal study in drawing but on the insistence of his father he switched to architecture. His failure to pass the entrance exams at Paris’ Ecole des Beaux-Arts ended any plans for a career as an architect, although he would later study there under Jean-Leon Gerome.
In the 1890s, he began to use pastel and oils, which dominated his works for the rest of his life. In 1903 he was awarded the Legion of Honor. His popularity increased when a catalogue of etchings and lithographs was published by Andre Mellerio in 1913 and that same year, he was given the largest single representation at the New York Armory Show.