Odilon Redon (1840-1916) created two superficially different types of works : colourful, semi-Impressionist vases of flowers, animals, or landscapes, and highly imaginative drawings, lithographs and paintings of fantastic subjects drawn from nature, dreams and visions. However, he always maintained that his `fantasy` images were only possible because of his close contact with reality, nature and the sciences. In his lifetime he was hailed as one of the foremost symbolist painters. He was a close friend of Mallarme and greatly admired the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
Redon strenuously rejected the word `illustration` to describe his prints; `A word needs to be found: I can only think of transmission, interpretation, but even they are not quite right to describe what happens when my reading flows into my arrangement of black and white.`
In his own words:
`The meaning of mystery is to be always in ambiguity, with double, triple aspects; in the hints of aspect (images in images), forms which will be, or which become according to the state of mind of the beholder. All things become more than suggestive because they appear.`