Odilon Redon: Etruscan Vase With Flowers (1900-1910)

Odilon Redon, “Etruscan Vase With Flowers”, (1900-1910), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1951; acquired from The Museum of Modern Art, Lillie P. Bliss Collection

Odilon Redon’s Originality

“Etruscan Vase With Flowers”,, like so many of Redon’s other works, feels and looks like another world. Though there is nothing unconventional about the subject matter itself, he paints flowers that do not exist in nature with colors that are unexpected. The result is an extraordinary and original artwork.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art describes the painting:

“In this bouquet, Redon combined palm fronds with artificial or imaginary flowers in a fantastical blue and ochre color scheme. The title identifies the vase as Etruscan, but it was likely a modern ceramic imitating an ancient example from the Mediterranean region.”


Redon describes the role of imagination in his artwork as follows:

“I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.”  

Odilon Redon from The Art Story

“My originality consists in bringing to life, in a human way, improbable beings and making them live according to the laws and probability, by putting – as far as possible – the logic of the visible at the service of the invisible.” 

Odilon Redon from The Art Story

Click for Enlarged Detail

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  • Etruscan Vase with Flowers
  • Artist: Odilon Redon (French, Bordeaux 1840–1916 Paris)
  • Date: 1900–1910
  • Medium: Tempera on canvas
  • Dimensions: 32 x 23 1/4 in. (81.3 x 59.1 cm)
  • Credit Line: Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1951; acquired from The Museum of Modern Art, Lillie P. Bliss Collection


  1. Odilon Redon Artist Overview and Analysis”. [Internet]. 2018. TheArtStory.org
    Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle, Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors, Available from: https://www.theartstory.org/artist-redon-odilon.htm (Accessed 14 Sep 2018).
  2. Beyond the Visible: The Art of Odilon Redon | MoMA https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/92, October 30, 2005–January 23, 2006. The Museum of Modern Art, (accessed 13 Sep 2018)
  3. Masterpieces of Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), page 91, https://books.google.com (accessed Sept. 13, 2018).
  4. Myers, Nicole. “Symbolism.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/symb/hd_symb.htm (August 2007), accessed Sept. 13, 2018.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, “Odilon Redon,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Odilon_Redon&oldid=858285467 (accessed September 14, 2018).

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Essays and Timeline


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12 Comments Add yours

  1. JMN says:

    There’s so much to admire about this painting! It brings into play a color gamut that obsesses me — purples combining with ochres and olivish hues, mute and toned-down but luminous and poetic: anomalous! Redon is so articulate about his work, too. I hope you post more of him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly! This one is all about the colors to me. I love how he used the creamy white behind like a soft light. I already have a large file of Redon clipped – so much more to follow. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim Wingrove says:

    I love these pictures. This is my favourite era 1870 – 1920 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is my favorite era, too….with the added benefit that finding high resolution jpgs in the public domain is much easier. Thanks for visiting, Jim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jim Wingrove says:

        there used to be a great site called WikiArt that I liked 👍


  3. Enriching essay and painting. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure! Thanks for visiting. 🙂


  4. Freeing our imagination during the creative process can lead to unexpected, amazing results as in Redon’s featured painting. I’ve experienced this as a young artist and more recently as a storyteller.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Rosaliene! Thank you for sharing your experience. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. H Schlagen says:

    Extraordinary painting, Thanks for sharing and commenting ..

    Liked by 1 person

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