Lady of the Flowers, Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon (French, 1840–1916) Lady of the Flowers, 1890–5 Oil on canvas Purchase, Louise and Walter F. Dillingham Fund, 1964 (3213.1) A painter, draftsman, and printmaker, Odilon Redon conjured with the irrationalism lurking beneath the surface of human reason. Lady of the Flowers is typical of his work of the 1890s, when self-absorbed, eerily spiritual women in profile—often contemplating imaginary sprays of flowers—became one of his favorite themes. While the color and lyricism of these works contrasts with the macabre melancholy of his earlier black-and-white drawings, Redon’s aesthetic was fundamentally unaltered. By advocating imagination, rather than realism, he transformed nature into dream and explored the suggestive potential of color, contributing considerably to Symbolism.