Initiation to Study—Two Young Ladies


Odilon Redon ( French, 1840 - 1916 )

c. 1905
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General Description

The Symbolist painter Odilon Redon was a contemporary of Claude Monet and other Impressionists; however, his artistic aims differed from theirs. His interest was not in recording the visible world around us, but the world of dreams and imagination, of mysticism and subjective experience. In this painting of an imaginary subject, a woman wearing a blue mantle takes the hand of a younger woman as if to impart secret knowledge. The muted tones and flat, patchy style give the canvas the appearance of an ancient fresco (plaster mural). Redon’s poetic and evocative canvases so captivated the organizers of the 1913 Armory Show in New York that they devoted an entire room to his work. This landmark exhibition, which also traveled to Chicago and Boston, provided many Americans with their first opportunity to see modern European art. Initiation to Study hung at the far right on the rear wall of the Redon Room at the New York show and was purchased by famous collector John Quinn.

Excerpt from

Nicole Myers, DMA label copy, 2017.

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