Caught between description and dream, the observed and the imagined, Odilon Redon’s (French, 1840–1916) work transformed the natural world into dark visions and bizarre fantasies. Delving into the imagination, Redon created a universe of hybrid creatures, offered his own interpretations of literary, biblical, and mythological subjects, and presented the environment in a singular way: we see grinning disembodied teeth, smiling spiders, winged chariots, unfamiliar plant life. Beyond the Visible: The Art of Odilon Redon presents the full range of Redon’s achievements—mysterious charcoal “noirs,” luminous pastels, richly textured canvases, dramatically shaded lithographs—through MoMA’s unparalleled collection of his work. Highlighting a major gift of over 100 pieces from The Ian Woodner Family Collection, the exhibition shows the issues at stake in Redon’s cultural world, explores the beginnings of modernism, and illuminates the hold that the artist’s vision has had on art of the twentieth century and today.
Organized by Jodi Hauptman, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings.