(b Bordeaux, 20 Apr. 1840; d Paris, 6 July 1916). French painter, draughtsman, and printmaker, one of the outstanding figures of Symbolism. He led a retiring life, first in his native Bordeaux, then from 1870 in Paris, and until he was in his fifties he worked almost exclusively in black and white—in charcoal drawings and lithographs. In these he developed a highly distinctive repertoire of weird subjects—strange amoeboid creatures, insects, and plants with human heads and so on, influenced by the writings of Edgar Allen Poe. He remained virtually unknown to the public until the publication of J. K. Huysmans's celebrated novel A rebours in 1884: the book's hero, a disenchanted aristocrat who lives in a private world of perverse delights, collects Redon's drawings, and with his mention in this classic expression of decadence, Redon too became a figurehead of the movement.
Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)