Khnopff, Fernand

BORN 12 Sep 1858, Grembergen (near Dendermonde) - DIED 12 Nov 1921, Brussel
GRAVE LOCATION Brussel: Cimetière de Laeken, Parvis Notre Dame (Perk 28, weg 4, concessie 229)

Khnopff grew up in Brugge (Bruges) and after a short period at the Brussels Law School he studied under F.X. Mellory at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. In 1877 he visited Paris and saw the paintings of Delacroix, Moreau, Rossetti and Burne-Jones. These painters influenced his style and he became an important painter in the symbolist movement.

In 1883 he co-founded the Groupe des XX (The Group of Twenty). His work enjoyed critical acclaim in the press and in 1892 he was one of the 60 artists that exhibited at the first Salon de la Rose+Croix at the Durant-Ruel Gallery, rue Lepelletier, Paris. This was not entirely to the liking of several members of his "XX", who didn't care for Joséphin Péladan, the organizing writer who claimed to be a descendant of the last king of Babylon.

Women shown as sphinxes or chimeras were recurring themes in Khnopff's work. He frequently used literature or poetry for inspiration. "I Lock my Door upon myself" (1891, Neue Pinakothek, München) and "Who Shall Deliver Me?)" (1891, private collection, Belgium) were both inspired by the work of Christina Rossetti.

Khnopff was a popular figure in society and he received the Order of Leopold for his work. Among his friends were Georges Rodenbach and Grégoire Le Roy. He knew Burne-Jones, with whom he exchanged drawings. Khnopff himself influenced Franz von Stuck and several Jugendstil painters.

Work: "Les caresses" (1896, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels); "'En écoutant de Schumann" (1883?, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels).

Related persons
• knew Burne-Jones, Edward
• was pupil of Lefebvre, Jules
• was pupil of Mellery, Xavier
• was influenced by Moreau, Gustave
• was a friend of Rodenbach, Georges
• was inspired by Rossetti, Christina
• influenced Stuck, Franz von


The grave of Fernand Khnopff at the Laken cemetery, Brussels.
Picture by Androom (24 Jul 1999)


'En écoutant de Schumann'.
   (1883?, Brussel: Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique)

"Portrait de Jeanne de Bauer".
   (1890, [The Stepanski Family Collection, USA])

Schilderkunst van A tot Z, REBO, Lisse, 1990
• Wilton, Andrew e.a., Der Symbolismus in England, Haus der Kunst, München, 1998

Khoklova, Olga

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 25 Apr 2022