CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Fernand Khnopff

Exhibition: 16 January - 9 May 2004


Frederik Leen, Dominique Marechal and Gisèle Ollinger-Zinque

From the exhibition website

In spring 2004 the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are organising a major retrospective of the work of Belgian Symbolist painter Fernand Khnopff (1859-1921). This monographic exhibition continues the series of retrospectives devoted to the works of Paul Delvaux (1997), René Magritte (1998) and James Ensor (1999-2000). In 1979 the Royal Museums organised the first ever major retrospective dedicated to Khnopff, securing international fame for an artist who had fallen somewhat into neglect, despite being a key figure of the European Symbolist movement. Since then our knowledge of and the importance accorded to this major Belgian artist have grown constantly.


The foreword by the Head Curator is followed by three introductory essays and three texts on specific sub-aspects of Khnopff’s works. The first theoretical essay is devoted to Fernand Khnopff and Symbolism in general, the second to Khnopff and his mystical and religious subjects, the third to Khnopff’s special connections to Bruges and Fosset. The three texts deal with Khnopff’s affinity with England in general and with Edward Burne-Jones in particular, Khnopff and the representation of Medusa, and Khnopff and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie.

The catalogue proper follows in broad lines the thematic structure of the exhibition, but ignoring any physical limitations imposed by the structure of the exhibition rooms. It is divided into twelve chapters, each structured around a particular theme. Many works are discussed in separate notices. A separate section is devoted to Khnopff and photography, as well as to his contribution to engraving and as an illustrator. The book concludes with a short biography, a summary bibliography and an index of works. This richly illustrated volume will contain around 300 pages, with reproductions of the works exhibited and a series of supporting illustrations.