A surreal departure

Cactus Man
1881 (260 Kb); Charcoal, 49 x 32.5 cm; The Woodner Family Collection, New York


Odilion Redon’s Noirs capture the essence of a forgotten dream. Each Noir (or “Black”), merges human features with creatures, plants and objects. He created these eerie, melancholy charcoal drawings during the first 25 years of his career in the late 1800’s.





“..to make improbable beings live, like human beings, according to the laws of probability by putting… the logic of the visible at the service of the invisible.”

—From Redon’s journal

Redon was recognized in school for his strengths in drawing. He was pressured by his father to study architecture, however his failure to pass the entrance exams at École des Beaux-Arts allowed him to return to his original love of drawing & painting.



1878 (190 Kb); Charcoal, 42.2 x 33.2 cm; The Museum of Modern Art, New York 

The Crying Spider
1881 (230 Kb); Charcoal, 49.5 x 37.5 cm; Private collection, The Netherlands

Guardian Spirit of the Waters
1878 (210 Kb); Charcoal, 46.6 x 37.6 cm; The Art Institute of Chicago

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