Tuesday August 24, 2021
Tags for: The Cleveland Museum of Art Presents Collecting Dreams: Odilon Redon
  • Press Release

The Cleveland Museum of Art Presents Collecting Dreams: Odilon Redon

exterior of the CMA building

Exhibition celebrates the CMA’s collection of works by Redon, one of the first in the United States, and unveils a newly acquired drawing

Cleveland (August 24, 2021)—Odilon Redon (1840–1916) was known as “the prince of mysterious dreams” for creating paintings, drawings and prints that blend fantasy, literature and the subconscious. Collecting Dreams: Odilon Redon celebrates the Cleveland Museum of Art’s (CMA) exceptional holdings of works by Redon, including a newly acquired charcoal drawing, Quasimodo, on view for the first time. The exhibition reveals Redon’s history in Cleveland and introduces the phases of his career and work. Collecting Dreams: Odilon Redon runs from September 19, 2021, through January 23, 2022, in the CMA’s Julia and Larry Pollock Focus Gallery. 

“The CMA was among the first American museums to collect the work of this groundbreaking artist, and early gifts and purchases earned the museum an international reputation as the most important repository of Redon’s work outside France,” said William M. Griswold, director of the CMA. “The exhibition chronicles nearly 100 years of collecting, and we look forward to sharing these important and enigmatic works with our visitors.”

Acquired in 2020, Quasimodo is from a group of drawings that Redon termed “noirs” for their use of black materials, such as charcoal, and their foreboding mood. This recent addition to the museum’s collection exemplifies his experimentation throughout the series. The exhibition also features one of the artist’s most significant late paintings, Andromeda (1912), a loan from the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts that was exhibited for the first time in the United States at the CMA in 1926, alongside works by Redon from Cleveland’s collection. 

Redon studied briefly in Paris before rejecting his conservative training and returning to his native Bordeaux in southern France. There, he spent a decade depicting highly original, often bizarre themes executed exclusively in black, ranging from inky lithographs to dense charcoal drawings. Around 1890, Redon’s work completely changed when he discovered pastel, a powdery material made from pure pigment. For the remainder of his life, he created colorful visions drawn from mythology, religion and his social circle.

“I hope that visitors—even those learning about Redon’s work for the first time—will be drawn in by his strange and fascinating style. His enormously varied paintings, prints, and drawings appealed to the CMA’s early curators when they were still contemporary art and considered extremely speculative purchases for an American museum. These works are rarely on view, and the exhibition is an unprecedented opportunity to learn about this exciting modern artist,” said Britany Salsbury, associate curator of prints and drawings. 

Collecting Dreams: Odilon Redon includes a section developed with the museum’s conservation department that explores the artist’s processes and materials in depth. Additional content about every artwork on view in the exhibition is available through the augmented reality (AR) scanning feature in CMA’s ArtLens App. Visitors simply aim their device at any artwork to see AR hot spots on the screen, giving them the opportunity to get a closer look at details and learn more through this unique interactive experience.  

Please view the press kit for more information and images.


Complementary Programming

Lunchtime Lecture: Dreaming with Odilon Redon
Tuesday, October 5, noon, FREE
Morley Family Lecture Hall  

Come to the CMA for a quick bite of art history. Every first Tuesday of each month, join curators and other museum staff for 30-minute talks on objects currently on display in the museum galleries. 

Britany Salsbury, associate curator of prints and drawings, introduces visitors to the enigmatic and imaginative world of late 19th-century French artist Odilon Redon. Highlighting works on view in the exhibition Collecting Dreams: Odilon Redon, Salsbury discusses the artist’s paintings, drawings, and prints—that mined fantasy, literature, and the subconscious for inspiration—and their important place within the CMA’s history. 

All exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Exhibitions. Generous annual support is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Walter R. Chapman Jr., the Jeffery Wallace Ellis Trust in memory of Lloyd H. Ellis Jr., Janice Hammond and Edward Hemmelgarn, William S. and Margaret F. Lipscomb, Anne H. Weil and the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is funded in part by residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

This exhibition was supported in part by the Ohio Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Ohio and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261