As a young man, Redon was fascinated with Darwinian biology and enjoyed a close friendship with Armand Clavaud, the curator of the botanical gardens in his hometown of Bordeaux. In late floral still lifes such as this one, the artist demonstrated a naturalist?? sense of wonder as well as a richly inventive imagination, combining many different types of blooms and foliage in an effervescent display. The vase, which appears in a number of Redon's flower pictures, was made and presented to him by the ceramicist Marie Botkin around 1900.Odilon Redon was a French symbolist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and pastellist. He was a contemporary of Monet and Renoir but never an adherent of Impressionism. He was viewed as an outsider and his art was not widely accepted during his life. Drawing deeply from his imagination, Redon explains, 'My father often used to say to me: 'Look at those clouds, can you see as I can, the changing shapes in them?' And then he would show me strange beings, fantastic and marvelous visions, in the changing sky.' So much of what Redon would create was conjured from his imagination. He described his style as follows: '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.'