French painter and graphic artist Odilon Redon was born in 1840 in Bordeaux, France. From 1870 until he was in his fifties he worked almost exclusively in black and white charcoal drawings and lithographs. Influenced by the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, he developed an easily recognizable repertoire of strange subjects such as amoeboid creatures and insects and plants with human heads.
Redon was virtually unknown to the public until 1884 when J.K. Huysman’s novel “A Rebours” was published. The book’s hero was a disenchanted aristocrat and a collector of Redon’s drawings. With the mention of his name in this publication, Redon's work gained attention.
He returned to painting during the 1880s and reveled his remarkable talent as a colorist. During the later years of his life, Redon had become a distinguished figure, though he was still a very private person.