In the early 1890s, Odilon Redon received an increasing amount of attention from collectors and critics, leading to his first one-man show in 1894 at Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris. It was during this time that color began to take center stage in Redon’s output and, from then on, his pieces in pastels and oils would be more closely associated with his oeuvre than the noirs he built his reputation on in his earlier years. Redon himself celebrated the use of color in his later works, writing to his friend Picard: "I feel the coming of the hour where time doubles its price, the instant where the artist knows himself and no longer goes astray. Master of my means—in a small domain—I experience more than ever the pleasures which work procures. With pastel I have recovered the hope of giving my dreams greater plasticity, if possible. Colors contain a joy which relaxes me; besides, they sway me towards something different and new. Yet I could not speak to you of my projects; one doesn’t know the art of tomorrow." (quoted in John Rewald in Odilon Redon, Gustave Moreau, Rodolphe Bresdin (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York & The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1961-62, p. 39).
Redon proved to be an inspiration for many younger artists including the Nabis, Matisse and Marcel Duchamp. Richard Hobbs discusses the interest in Redon shown by the Nabis: “What the Nabis actually so admired in Redon was not only the technical quality of his works but also his ability to suggest the mysterious and the spiritual. Bonnard later summed this up succinctly: ‘What strikes me most in his work is the coming together of two almost opposite qualities: very pure plastic substance and very mysterious expression. Our whole generation is under his charm and benefits from his advice’” (Richard Hobbs, Odilon Redon, London, 1977, p. 84). After his revolutionary showing of Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 at the 1913 Armory Show (where 38 of Redon’s works were also exhibited), Marcel Duchamp was asked whether his art or that of his contemporaries was derived from the legacy of Cézanne. He replied, "I am sure that most of my friends would say so and I know that he [Cézanne] is a great man. Nevertheless, if I am to tell what my own point of departure has been, I should say that it was the art of Odilon Redon” (quoted in John Rewald, ibid, p. 44).
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